Last updated: 03:31 PM ET, Wed September 30 2015

Passenger Considers Suing Airline Following Gruesome Spider Bite

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | September 30, 2015

Passenger Considers Suing Airline Following Gruesome Spider Bite

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

A Qatar Airways passenger is considering taking legal action against the airline after suffering a life-threatening spider bite aboard a flight from Qatar to South Africa this past June.

The Guardian reported Englishman Jonathan Hogg was six hours into his flight to Cape Town when he felt a pain in his leg before spotting a spider on the cabin floor.

"The pain was like nothing I’ve been through in my life. By the time I got to hospital my leg was bursting open, there was pus, it was black," the 40-year-old Hogg told the Guardian. "It was a right mess. They told me if I had been any later I would have lost my leg or even died. It was terrifying."

Doctors, who were forced to remove a significant portion of Hogg's leg that the venom had destroyed, diagnosed the bite as that of a brown recluse spider, which produces potentially fatal venom.

"It really hit home when they removed the bandages and I saw what was left of my leg — it resembled something from a horror film," added Hogg. "They had been forced to cut away so much, I was devastated."

Having spent a month in the hospital and undergoing multiple operations, the recovering London native is criticizing the airline's lack of response. 

"They have made no attempt to resolve the issue and have basically said it was nothing to do with them. All this has left me very traumatized but determined to seek justice," he told the Guardian. "No one should have to go through what I have and if the airline has made a mistake it should take responsibility."

Hogg's lawyer, Richard Duxbury, backed up his client, saying that "airlines have a responsibility to protect passengers from dangerous potential pests by properly fumigating all planes."

"We will now be investigating Mr. Hogg's claim to determine if there has been any wrongdoing by the airline," Duxbury told the Guardian.

In a statement, Qatar Airways said it was aware of the incident, but unaware of any legal response: 

"The only known interaction between the airline and Mr Hogg regarding this incident, which he claims happened on a Qatar Airways aircraft in June, was via our website a week after his travel was complete. No report was filed with any staff on board regarding this incident. We have also not been advised of any legal proceedings regarding this incident. In the circumstances we cannot comment further but will, of course, investigate any further information which is brought to our attention formally. Qatar Airways takes the safety and security of our customers very seriously."


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