American Airlines Passenger Sues, Says She Was Traumatized

A woman is suing American Airlines saying the emergency landing of a plane she was on has left her emotionally scarred.

Jewel Thomas, of Bellevue, Washington, was a passenger on American Flight 268 when the Boeing 757 ran off the runway and skidded onto grass at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, in September 2008.

"That day changed my whole life - it changed my whole world," Thomas says in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle. "This is one problem I can't solve."

The plane was flying nonstop from Seattle to New York when there were electrical problems. The suit alleges crew tried to troubleshoot for several hours until key systems began to shut down.

After cabin lights went out, passengers were told to prepare for a rough landing and many started praying, Thomas says. She says she used her cell phone to leave messages for her children to tell them she loved them.

The aircraft sustained only minor damage in the emergency landing. There were no injuries reported among the 185 passengers and seven crew members.

Thomas says in the lawsuit the plane should have been diverted sooner, and accuses American and the two pilots of negligence.

She says since the incident she has suffered from mental and emotional problems, is no longer able to fly and is on unpaid disability from her job at Microsoft.

Thomas says even the sound of a plane engine sometimes makes her "freak out."

The amount of damages Thomas is seeking was not specified. American declined to comment on the suit.

Photo, Pylon757, flickr
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