An 82-year-old man who died when he collapsed on an escalator and fell to his death at Gatwick Airport has been described as a proud Italian grandad who lived for his family.
Gerado Silano fractured his spinal cord on his way home back to Basingstoke, having travelled back to his native Italy with his wife Imra and son Paul, landing at the airport in West Sussex last month.
Mr Silano had three children and four grandchildren and was one of three disabled passengers due to be given assistance from the easyJet flight he was on.
Despite staff shortages across airports across the UK, Gatwick at the time said shortages were not a factor in Mr Silano’s death and a formal investigation was launched.
Mr Silano’s son Raffaele, who was on the trip to Naples with his dad, said: “Dad lived for us boys and mum and the grandkids.
“He was a super relaxed, very calm sort of guy. He was a massive football fan. He loved Man Utd and would go up to Old Trafford.
“For his 80th birthday we booked a VIP trip in a box at the stadium and dad loved that day.
“As an Italian football fan, seeing us win the Euros last year was amazing and we went to Wembley together for the semi-final.”
The 45 year old added: “Dad was a hard worker who spent his life doing manual work, but he was always smiling. He really enjoyed life.”
An inquest has been opened at West Sussex Coroner’s Court.
A Gatwick Airport spokeswoman said at the time that the incident occurred while airport staff were helping to disembark three passengers with restricted mobility (PRM), adding staff shortages played no role in the incident.
“This is a sad and tragic incident and our thoughts remain with the family of the deceased.
“A member of Wilson James staff was waiting when the aircraft arrived and was in the process of disembarking the three PRM passengers when the incident occurred.
“Staff shortages were not a factor in this incident as has been claimed.
“It is normal for one staff member to disembark three passengers who require assistance by taking them one at a time the short distance to the waiting buggy.
“A formal investigation is currently under way and it would not be appropriate to comment further.”