Southwest Airlines failed to properly maintain the Dallas-bound plane that had a fatal engine explosion after taking off from LaGuardia Airport, a lawsuit filed by passengers on the flight alleges.
The Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit stems from Southwest Flight 1380, which had to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia in April after an engine exploded 20 minutes into the flight at an altitude of 32,500 feet.
Wells Fargo exec Jennifer Riordan, a married mother of two, suffered a gruesome death after she was nearly sucked out of the Boeing 737 when metal fragments broke a window. Riordan, 43, was pelted by shrapnel.
Her estate is not a plaintiff in this lawsuit. The plaintiffs are eight passengers and the husband of one passenger who is claiming loss of intimacy with his wife.
“During the excruciating moments following the explosion, the plaintiffs endured the horrific fear of a plane crash — suddenly and unexpectedly, they were facing death,” the suit alleges. “As a direct result of the frightful, death-threatening Flight 1380 incident, each plaintiff suffered severe mental, emotional and psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder, and physical injuries.
Photos from the incident:
“Defendant Southwest Airlines had a duty to reasonably monitor, inspect, test, service, maintain and repair the aircraft and the engine to keep its aircraft reasonably safe for its passengers, or to remove from service aircraft that were not reasonably safe,” the suit states. “Defendant Southwest Airlines negligently failed in its duty to provide the highest degree of care for its passengers whose lives were at risk; and further failed in its duty to provide even a reasonable degree of care for its passengers.”
In addition to Southwest, plane maker Boeing, as well as components companies GE Aviation systems, Safran USA and CFM International, are being sued.
CFM and Safran said in an email that they don’t comment on ongoing litigation.
Neither Southwest, Boeing nor GEO Aviation Systems immediately responded to requests for comment.