The three women helped passengers off the aircraft as fire and thick black smoke billowed from the wing. Picture: YouTube.com
The three women helped passengers off the aircraft as fire and thick black smoke billowed from the wing. Picture: YouTube.com

BA crew who saved passengers from burning jet to sue for R2m

By CHRISTIAN GYSIN Time of article published Feb 4, 2020

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London - Three British Airways cabin crew who helped passengers escape from a blazing plane are suing the firm for £110 000 (about R2.1-million).

Marie Dyos, Lynette Robinson and Suely Goncalves-McLoughlin say they were left with post-traumatic stress disorder after helping rescue 170 passengers from a stricken Boeing 777 airliner.

The plane’s left engine burst into flames at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas as BA Flight 2276, bound for Gatwick, accelerated for take-off in September 2015.

The three women helped passengers off the aircraft as fire and thick black smoke billowed from the wing.

Lawyers for the women claim negligence after 97 gallons of aviation fuel spilled on to the runway during the drama, allegedly feeding the fire.

They also claim the captain was at fault for not immediately shutting down the right engine, which stopped two key escape slides from being used.

Twenty people were injured as they abandoned the plane and the three women claim to have suffered PTSD while Goncalves-McLoughlin damaged her sight in the accident. 

A hearing at the Mayor’s and City of London Court – sitting as part of London’s County Court – heard the women stayed on board until every passenger had been evacuated. 

Personal injury lawyer Martin Haukeland – representing all three women – said: "The aircraft, at that time fully laden with fuel, was on fire with smoke and flames visible."

Goncalves-McLoughlin, from St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, was injured after opening a door on the right side of the plane and her eyes "were exposed to high velocity particles thrown up by the still running right-hand engine", said Haukeland.

She was left with a damaged cornea, which has led to permanent dryness in her eye, and has suffered PTSD.

Robinson, 42, from Peacehaven, East Sussex, who also opened a door on the right hand side of the plane has since suffered nightmares and flashbacks and has become "anxious and hyper vigilant".

Dyos, from Horley, Surrey, continued to work for BA but also suffers from PTSD, the court was told.

Robinson and Miss Goncalves-McLoughlin are claiming £40 000 and Dyos £30 000.

However, BA denies blame and has tried to block the claims from going ahead in the UK because the trio were awarded almost £90 000 after suing Boeing and GE Aviation Systems in the US in 2016.

After two days of legal argument a judge said the case should be allowed to go to trial. BA was given permission to appeal, but was also ordered to pay £30 000 towards the women’s legal costs.

Daily Mail

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