South Carolina readers may have heard that a passenger was killed when an engine exploded on a Southwest Airlines flight on April 10. The accident could lead to multiple lawsuits against the airline, which had a spotless fatality record until the incident.
Southwest Flight 1380 was flying from New York to Dallas when one of its engines blew apart and shot shrapnel into a fuselage window, breaking it open. The cabin of the plane then rapidly depressurized and a female passenger was partially sucked out of the window. Other nearby passengers were able to pull the woman back in, but she suffered grave injuries. Meanwhile, with a lost engine, the plane began to quickly descend, making passengers fear for their lives. Luckily, the pilot regained control of the plane and successfully executed an emergency landing in Philadelphia.
Once the plane landed, the female passenger was rushed to a local hospital with critical injuries. She later died. Eight other passengers suffered minor injuries. The accident is now being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. Early reports indicate that the accident may have been caused by metal fatigue in the failed engine's fan blades. Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a directive telling airlines to conduct early inspections of the fan blades in certain aircraft engines. It is not yet known if Flight 1380's engines were included in that directive.
When a commercial airplane passenger is killed in an aircraft-related accident, their surviving family members could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the airline. The family of Flight 1380's female victim could potentially sue Southwest for funeral costs, pain and suffering before death, loss of financial support, loss of companionship and more. Likewise, the other injured passengers could sue for medical expenses, mental anguish and other related damages.