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Man With Alzheimer's Is Lost in Delta Air Shuffle

March 18, 2004|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines lost an 80-year-old man with Alzheimer's disease who was supposed to have been given an escort between flights in the Atlanta airport, his relatives said Wednesday.

Antonio Ayala disappeared Monday after his flight landed and he was not found until nearly 24 hours later, near a bus station downtown, several miles from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Police took him to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was undergoing dialysis Wednesday and was listed in good condition, officials said.

Family members said Ayala could have gone into a coma without dialysis.

Delta spokeswoman Peggy Estes said the airline was not told of Ayala's medical condition and it cannot be held responsible for the whereabouts of every adult passenger.

Ayala was flying from New York's La Guardia airport to El Paso and had to change planes in Atlanta.

"He was supposed to be escorted from one plane to another and it never happened," said Ayala's granddaughter, Cecilia Flowers.

Delta flew Ayala's relatives to Atlanta and housed them in a hotel while they waited for his hospital release.

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