The Tragedy at Johannesburg Airport

Picture this: you’ve just arrived at Johannesburg airport after flying in from London (an 11 hour flight), you’re super excited although you almost didn’t sleep, and you walk around with your eyes wide open – determined to take everything in.
Wow, airport security is much nicer here compared to Heathrow, you think.
And what a cool way of dressing, you countinue. Okay, find gate A23, the flight to Namibia isn’t leaving in awhile, but it doesn’t hurt to know where I’m going, right?

But when you follow the signs toward A23 and step around a corner you meet a scene that makes you forget about your next flight. A man is lying on the floor, screaming, clutching the hand of a woman. She’s not moving. Around them a group of people have formed. They’re staring, some visibly upset, some with a morbid curiosity. Why is no one helping the couple? What’s going on? Is help on the way?
You approach two women, a mother and daughter. The latter is crying and the mother is looking around, wondering the same as you – where is the help, and when is it comming?
“what happened?” you ask.
“she, she just collapsed.” the mother answers.
“is she breathing?”
The daughter shakes her head. Stunned you turn back to the couple. Just then another traveler arrives at the scene. He’s not a doctor, but he clearly knows what he is doing. He starts doing CPR, finds a bag with instruments. You know nothing he does will help if real doctors don’t show up. She needs a heartstarter. And she needs it now.

I have never seen the Bystander Effect before. I have heard of it, but never thought I would end up in the middle of it. This shouldn’t be possible. The right people should have been there within minutes, it’s a freaking airport! But it took 15 minutes. One showed up. Then it took 10 more before “the boss” came. And finally, 5 minutes later, the heartstarter arrived.

What kind of world is this?

9 thoughts on “The Tragedy at Johannesburg Airport

    1. She was already dead when I arrived, and in the half hour I stood there (before the cops told me to go), they didn’t manage to revive her. I think she died, it was really sad.

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  1. Holy shit, eg og Annie som faktisk snakket om det med bystander effekten når hu var her i Bergen! Det e forståelig at folk blir inneslutta og ikje vett ka de ska gjør i sånne situasjoner, men eg skjønne ikje at d skulle ta så lang tid for kompetente folk å komma. Som du sie, it’s an effings airport. Det tar tre minutter, ikje femten eller tretti, for ambulansefolkå å ankomme et ulykkessted i sentrum av ein by. Førstehjelpen de første minuttene har jo sykt mye å si. Men de som gjorde det, gjorde nok sitt beste. Og du kunne nok ikje gjort någe mer, så håpe ikje du har dårlig samvittighet. Eg beklage at det gjekk sånn med henne.

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    1. Det var ein veldig trist måte å starte turen på, eg tenkte på det heile resten av kvelden. Fikk et plutselig innslag av hjemlengel. Det sitte igjen i meg at eg ikkje reagerte bedre. Eg kan jo og HLR, eg burde sjekt damen myself. Men noen ting må ein oppleva for å læra og forstå. Bystander effekten i virkeligheten har
      gjort stort inntrykk. Neste gang håpe eg at eg vil reagere annerledes, fortere. Uansett om eg sikkert ikkje kunne gjort mer eller noe bedre.

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      1. Det e heilt greit, Rags. Du gjorde det som sikkert var naturlig der og då (“sikkert”, fordi eg ikje har opplevd d sjøl, sånn at eg ikje kan si at eg vett 100% koss det føles). Nå har du i hvert fall någe å gå etter om d samme skulle skje igjen (forhåpentligvis vil sje det vær ofte). Og uansett ka som e utfallet i sånne situasjoner så e det aldri din feil.

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