First Suit Filed Against Southwest Airlines for Exploding Engine Incident
Nine days after the terrifying Southwest Flight 1380 depressurization drama, the first lawsuit was filed against the airline. Also named as defendants are GE Aviation, LLC, Safran Aircraft Engines and CFM International, who are alleged to be the designers/manufacturers/sellers of the CFM56-7B engine that suffered a catastrophic failure during the flight.
Plaintiff Lilia Chavez was a passenger on the Boeing 737 aircraft. Twenty minutes taking off from New York-LaGuardia Airport, the left engine suffered a major failure of a fan blade. This caused unexpected pitch and bank movements, which led to an absolutely amazing controlled rapid emergency descent by the pilot. Debris from the engine, however, struck the plane and shattered a passenger window, which caused a rapid depressurization. Ms. Chavez was apparently sitting three seats behind the window and watched as an innocent passenger was partially pulled through the window, with other passengers (apparently not Ms. Chavez) pulling her back in. She alleges “airflow and airborne debris” struck her and obstructed her breathing. She contacted her children to tell them she loved them and was “preparing to die aboard the crippled aircraft”.
Her lawsuit, filed in federal court in Pennsylvania sets out her claims. She alleges that the defendants, at the time of the flight, were aware of a dangerous condition existing in CFM56-7B engines. Specifically, she claims, they were aware of a previous Southwest engine failure in August 2016, when another plane’s engine fan blades failed, destroying the engine compartment and causing debris to strike and damage the fuselage.
She goes onto allege that the defendants failed to maintain the engines and failed to identify and correct the root cause of the failure. She also claims defendants failed to properly implement the inspection program developed by them following the first incident.
Ms. Chavez Complaint alleges that she suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder because of the incident. She requests damages for mental anguish, loss of earnings, pain, suffering, loss of earning capacity and punitive damages.
Other suits are expected.