Passengers reportedly screamed in horror after a disabled granddad plunged to his death from an escalator at Gatwick Airport, an inquest heard.

Gerardo Silano, 82, fractured his spine and died on his way home from a family holiday in Naples, according to a newspaper report.

His family had reportedly booked special assistance in the form of a wheelchair to help Gerardo and his wife, Irma, off the EasyJet flight and through the North Terminal on June 15.

A report in The Sun told how instead of joining his wife in a lift, Gerardo chose to walk up an escalator but fell to his death.

Gerardo’s son Pasquale told an inquest how he heard a woman scream and later saw his dad lying at the bottom of the escalator.

“I dropped my bag and ran down the escalator and saw some EasyJet staff running to help him,” Pasquale told the inquest in Chichester yesterday.

He said: “I held my dad’s hand. I could see in his eyes he was hurt. My dad had fallen some distance.

“Dad lived a long and good life and he had weathered and triumphed over so many things recently we thought he was indestructible.”

According to The Sun, Pasquale also admitted to not paying full attention to his dad as he was “multi-tasking” as the family disembarked.

Although Gatwick was among a number of airports to face disruption over the summer due to staff shortages, the inquest determined that reduced staff numbers did not play a role in the accident, The Sun reported.

Gerardo’s family described him as a “strong and resilient” man who loved being a grandfather.

Pasquale said: “Being a grandfather showed us his softer side. He loved his family and was always at his happiest when he was surrounded by them.”

The inquest was adjourned until next year for further evidence.

A spokesman for Gatwick Airport told The Sun: “Our thoughts continue to be with the Silano family at this difficult time.

“It would not be appropriate to go into detail ahead of the conclusion of the inquest.

“However, what I can say is that special assistance was provided and requested and did not play a role in the sad accident.”