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Cabin crew couldn't treat teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse 'because of landing regulations'

An inquest into Natasha Ednan-Laperouse's death is ongoing. Photo: Press Association Images

Cabin crew were unable to perform CPR on a teenager suffering a severe allergic reaction because the plane was landing, an inquest has heard.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, fatally collapsed on a British Airways flight from London to Nice after eating a Pret A Manger sandwich with "hidden" sesame seeds.

Natasha had been with her father and best friend when she bought the artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette as they passed through Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 in July 2016.

But cabin crew were unable to fetch a defibrillator or perform CPR when she collapsed because of regulations around landing, West London Coroner's Court was told.

Natasha's mother, Tanya, wept in court as head of cabin crew John Harris was asked why BA staff had not got the defibrillator.

"Without sounding harsh, the coverage of doors takes priority," he said.

He explained that it was a formal requirement of his training to ensure cabin crew were in position on landing so they could get passengers off the aircraft in case of an emergency.

"There were only five cabin crew on that particular flight and the aircraft had four sets of doors, totalling eight doors, and one cabin crew member was out of action," he said.

"So we literally had the minimum number of crew to cover those doors," he said.

The inquest heard that a defibrillator was used on Natasha after landing when Nice paramedics arrived.

Natasha died on board a BA flight from London to Nice. Credit: PA

This came as the coroner expressed concern that reduced allergen labelling requirements for shop-made food may be being used "to get around regulations".

Hillingdon Council food safety officer Bridget Saunders told the inquest she had found no issues with the food labelling and allergy information during an inspection of the Pret branch in February 2016.

But the inquest heard that food safety regulations allow businesses which produce food on site to provide reduced allergen labelling compared with factory-made products.

Mrs Saunders said: "I think the distinction was made really to deal with small, independent high street premises which perhaps prepare food on site and put it into a bag to sell to customers coming in."

The teenage had an allergic reaction to a baguette from Pret A Manger. Credit: PA

She added: "The regulations make no distinction with Pret, with their huge turnover."

Dr Cummings said: "It seems a little strange a local sandwich shop could benefit from that regulation but an organisation that sells 218 million items (a year) should also benefit from that regulation.”

"Yes, I would agree," said the witness.

The coroner continued: "A cynic might think it was almost a device to get around regulations relating to identifying food allergens."

Natasha became progressively more ill on the BA flight. Credit: Hannah McKay/PA

The teenager suffered from numerous allergies and reacted badly to sesame seeds "hidden" in the bread, which caused her throat to tighten and vicious red hives to flare up across her midriff, eventually triggering cardiac arrest.

Two epipens were jabbed into her legs, but the symptoms did not abate and she was declared dead the same day at a hospital in Nice.

The inquest is due to last until Friday.