Friday, 25 April 2003  
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Gunadasa Kapuge inquest:Airport medical center had no doctor - Singer

by Sandasen Marasinghe

'When Gunadasa Kapuge fell and was injured, he was taken to the medical centre at the Airport at about 4.40 a.m. He was given saline. There was no doctor at the medical centre. Later, a doctor who came there checked him and said that Kapuge should be taken to the Colombo National Hospital. The authorities charged Rs. 2,000 as the ambulance fare. However, the ambulance couldn't go as there was no male nurse. Even when I left the airport at 8.00 a.m., Kapuge had not been taken to National Hospital,' popular singer Priyantha Fernando said testifying at the inquest into the death of Visaradha Gunadasa Kapuge held before the Additional City Coroner M. Ashroff Rumy.

Visaradha Kapuge who returned from a tour of Dubai on April 2 had a fall at the Katunayake airport. The singer later died at the Colombo National Hospital.

Priyantha Fernando further stated that he boarded the shuttle bus with Kapuge to come to the Airport office after they alighted from the plane. When the door opened Kapuge slipped and fell on the ground sustaining injuries on the back of his head. Then with the help of a security officer he was taken to the medical centre. Although witness wanted to inform Kapuge's wife about the incident. But he could not do so as there was no telephone facilities at the medical centre.

R.J. Ruwanmalee Karunaratne, an air hostess said that Gunadasa Kapuge did not travel by SriLankan Airlines. When she learnt about the incident she informed the airline concerned. But no one responded.

Witness further said that there was no doctor at the medical centre but a doctor assigned for the general staff is generally summoned to the medical centre during an emergency. Witness said they attended to the injured singer without anyone's mediation.

The Additional City Coroner postponed the inquest for May 8.

Evidence was led by Katunayake Police.

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