AIRPORT DEATH MYSTERY
Doting dad dies in Turkish terminal building after being escorted from flight home
TRAGIC dad Andrew Westlake died in a Turkish airport terminal after being ordered off his flight, it has been revealed.
One of the last people to speak to the 30-year-old before his death has told The Chronicle of his sadness.
Perry Sheldon, who chatted with Andrew in the queue at Dalaman Airport as they both waited to board a plane to Newcastle, said Andrew had been worried he would not be allowed to travel home.
The 27-year-old has told how he watched airport staff escort Andrew, from Annfield Plain, County Durham, off the plane after he had taken his seat.
Tour operator Jet2 has now confirmed that Andrew died in the terminal building soon after. And Perry, from Dudley, near Cramlington, has now told of Andrew’s final moments. He said: “He said all he wanted to do was get home. He seemed a bit nervous but he wasn’t in any way aggressive, he didn’t seem like a threat to anyone. “He seemed like a lovely lad.” Perry had been on holiday with his fiancee and her family. He met Andrew when they were both queuing to get through new enhanced search systems at Dalaman.
Perry says Andrew, who had been on a family holiday with his girlfriend and baby daughter, explained he had been trying to get home for several days.
“He was literally stood next to me the whole time before we boarded the plane,” said Perry. “He was saying he had been arrested for putting suncream on blisters on his feet. He had been trying to explain that to the authorities at the airport. He just seemed very worried that he wasn’t going to get home.”
Andrew was allowed to board the plane and take his seat. But Perry says he later saw staff escort him off.
“They allowed him on the plane, they sat him in his seat, but then about 10 minutes later the staff came on the plane and mentioned something to the cabin crew and then they took him off,” said Perry.
“I don’t really understand what was going on, but at no point did he seem aggressive.
“They asked him to leave and he just walked off. Nothing happened on the plane.”
Perry learned Andrew had died soon after when he read reports and saw Andrew’s picture. He said: “When I saw the story and his picture, I was just so shocked. Something must have happened in the airport. In my opinion they did seem like they were singling him out because of what happened previously.”
Perry said the incident had made him worried about travelling. “It does put a real downer on the trip,” he said. “We had a fantastic holiday, but when we were getting searched at the airport, none of the staff spoke English. It does make you worry.
“I do feel uneasy to think that if they did this to a man who was being so unaggressive, it could happen to anyone. He just wanted to get to his family. It’s just horrible to think that something like this has happened.”
Andrew grew up in Annfield Plain with his four siblings and mum June. He had some problems during his younger years, but is said to have turned his life around following the birth of his daughter around a year ago.
His family say they are still in the dark over how he died.
Andrew’s aunt, Pauline Butler, 67, said: “We really don’t know what to think. His mum is absolutely devastated. They were very close. He doted on his daughter.
“It was their first family holiday together. He really settled down since she was born. He was a really doting dad. He absolutely idolised his little girl. “He would do anything for her.” A Jet2 spokeswoman said: “We understand that a customer sadly passed away on Tuesday morning, following an incident inside the terminal building at Dalaman Airport.
“Contrary to some reports, we can confirm that the customer was not injured on our aircraft or in the vicinity of our aircraft.
“As investigations are ongoing it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further, however we would like to extend our sincere condolences to the customer’s family and friends at this very sad time.”
Perry Sheldon, who chatted to Andrew Westlake at Dalaman Airport in Turkey, before the dad’s tragic death
Andrew Westlake from Annfield Plain who died in Turkey