13 Feb 2008

Honolulu airport officials called callous following death of American Samoa child

2:16 pm on 13 February 2008

An Hawaii lawyer representing the family of a American Samoan baby who died last week while being detained at Honolulu aiport has expressed disbelief that immigration authorities would lock a sick child in a room.

The family is bringing a legal suit against immigration authorities in Hawaii.

The baby, Michael Futi, his mother and a nurse from American Samoa's LBJ hospital had traveled to Honolulu where he was to undergo an operation for a heart defect.

Lawyer Rick Fried says the group were locked in a room at the airport and he says the child died because of the callousness of the Honolulu customs and immigration division.

"They were locked in this room and could not get out and when both the mother and the nurse were screaming for help, call 911, the people outside were saying stay calm, relax. Finally about five minutes later when the baby was in terrible trouble someone opened the door and then about ten minutes after that the emergency medical people came."