Brochure / Getty Images
A passenger who was on the Southwest Airlines plane with an explosive part of the engine sued the carrier.
Lilia Chavez, originally from California, boarded a flight on April 17 at the LaGuardia airport in New York bound for Dallas. Twenty minutes later, at an altitude of 32,000 feet, oxygen masks fell.
Passengers heard an explosion, a window shattered, a woman was almost ejected from the window. The plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia, but the woman, mother of two children, died of direct trauma to the head, neck and torso. Other passengers survived with injuries.
Chavez sat three seats behind the broken window, according to the document filed Thursday in the US District Court. UU For the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The lawsuit alleges that the traumatic events of flight 1380 left Chávez with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other personal injuries.
"Ms. Chávez witnessed the horror when the force of the depressurization drew an innocent passenger partially through the shattered window and saw how the passengers They risked their lives to throw the passenger back to the aircraft and save his life, "the document says.
Describe how Chávez "prayed and feared for his life" and heard other passengers call their loved ones to say goodbye. Chavez also "contacted his children to tell them that he loved them and that he was preparing to die aboard the mutilated plane," the lawsuit says.
His lawyer, Bradley J. Stoll, told NPR that Chávez is "a brilliant, successful woman who has overcome very important obstacles in her life and is the matriarch of her immediate and extended family." This accident has paralyzed her will and is shocked by this horrible near-death experience. "
Chávez has already gone through difficulties, according to an alumni video posted online. His mother died when he was 14 years old and raised brothers who entered and left prison. She worked as a counselor in a college program for adults before finally receiving a Ph.D.
His complaint alleges that the airline was negligent and failed to comply with its obligations, failing to warn passengers that the airplane and the engine had defects.
"Instead of protecting the safety of the plaintiff and those who also paid fees, the defendants' misconduct placed profits and businesses on the safety of their clients and continued to operate these engines," he says.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly told a news conference that the twin-engine 737 had been inspected two days before the incident. The chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Robert Sumwalt, said a fatigue fracture likely caused engine failure, but that would have been difficult to detect.
A similar incident occurred in 2016 when Southwest Flight 3472 from New Orleans to Orlando suffered an engine failure from a broken fan.
After that incident, Southwest did not agree with the proposal of the Federal Aviation Authority on engine inspections. Reuters The air carrier believed that the FAA "vastly underestimated" the number of engines that would require inspection and its cost. He reportedly told the FAA that the 24 fan blades on each engine should not be inspected.
The lawsuit also names companies that designed, manufactured and sold the engines. including CFM International, GE Aviation and Safran.
After the incident, Southwest sent letters of apology, a $ 5,000 check, and a $ 1,000 travel voucher to the people on the plane that day. Responded to NPR via e-mail, "Our focus remains on working with [National Transportation Safety Board] to support your investigation." We can not comment on any pending litigation. The safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority at all times. "
Chávez's lawyer said the lawsuit is important because what happened could have been avoided. "This is a failure that happened in the past and the decisions that Southwest and CFM International made will be under scrutiny in this lawsuit, and it affects all the people who travel as passengers on commercial aircraft."