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A passenger who was on the Southwest Airlines plane with an exploding engine part sued the airline.
Lilia Chavez, a native Californian, boarded a flight at New York's LaGuardia Airport on April 17, destined for Dallas. Twenty minutes later, at an altitude of 32,000 feet, the oxygen masks dropped.
Passengers heard an explosion, a window broke, a woman was almost thrown out the window. The plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia, but the mother-of-two died of a blunt head, neck, and torso trauma. Other passengers survived with injuries.
Chavez sat three seats behind the smashed window, according to the document filed Thursday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The lawsuit alleges that the traumatic events of Flight 1380 Chavez suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other personal injuries.
"Ms. Chavez testified the horror when the force of the pressure relief pulled an innocent passenger partially through the destroyed window and she watched passengers risk their lives to pull the passenger back into the plane and save their lives, "it says in the document.
It describes how Chavez "prayed and feared for her life" and heard other passengers call upon their loved ones to say goodbye for good. Chavez "also contacted her children to tell them that she loved her and that she was preparing to die aboard the crippled plane," the complaint said. Her lawyer Bradley J. Stoll told NPR that Chavez is "very brilliant, a successful woman who has overcome major obstacles in her life and is the matriarch of her immediate and extended family." This accident paralyzed her will and she stands in the face this terrible near-death experience in shock. "
Chavez has already overcome some difficulties, according to an online alumni video. Her mother was killed when she was 14 years old and she had raised siblings who came in and out of prison. She worked as a counselor in an adult college program before finally obtaining a Ph.D.
The lawsuit alleges that the air carrier acted negligently and violated its obligations – passengers were not warned that the aircraft and engine had shortcomings.
"Instead of protecting the safety of the plaintiff and those who were also paying customers The defendants' misconduct has made profits and businesses on the safety of their customers and continued to operate them," it says.
Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines, told a press conference that the twin-engine 737 had been inspected two days before the incident. National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said fatigue failure was likely to cause the engine to fail, but it would be hard to spot.
A similar incident occurred in 2016, when Southwest Flight 3472 from New Orleans to Orlando suffered engine damage from a broken fan blade.
After this incident, Southwest did not agree to a Federal Aviation Authority proposal for engine inspection to Reuters. The carrier believed that the FAA "significantly underestimated" the number of engines to be tested and their cost. The FAA reportedly reported that not all 24 fan blades in each engine should be inspected.
The lawsuit also mentions companies that designed, manufactured and sold the engines. including CFM International, GE Aviation and Saffron.
After the incident, Southwest sent apology letters, a $ 5,000 check and $ 1,000 travel voucher to the people who were on the plane that day. He emailed NPR: "We continue to focus on working with [National Transportation Safety Board] to support their investigation, we can not comment on outstanding litigation, and the safety of our employees and customers is our top priority."
Chavez & # 39; s lawyer said the lawsuit was important because what happened could have been prevented. "This is a mistake that has occurred in the past, and the decisions that Southwest and CFM International have made are being scrutinized in this lawsuit, and it affects every person flying as a passenger in commercial aircraft."