Place crash victims target Boeing with lawsuit
Three families who were victims of the crash of Asiana Flight 214 on July 6th have alleged in lawsuits that aeroplane manufacturer Boeing should have known to retrofit the plane following a similar crash in 2009 and say that the company played a critical role in the inadequate training of the airline's pilots in South Korea. The plane crashed as it tried to land at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), killing three teenage Chinese girls and injuring dozens of others.
According to the lawsuits “Boeing wrote and/or approved instructions and warnings for the subject aircraft, including flight manuals, operation manuals, maintenance manuals, maintenance instructions, inspection schedules and service life scheduled to be followed by owners and operators, including Asiana, for the continued airworthiness and safe flight of the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft."
The lawsuits did not seek specific monetary damages from Asiana or Boeing. The attorney Frank Pitre, who filed three separate lawsuits against Asiana and Boeing in U.S. District Court in San Francisco late Thursday, said he would leave any awards up to juries hearing the cases.
Following a similar crash landing of a Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800 in Amsterdam in 2009, Boeing retrofitted 400 Boeing 737s with a voice command warning of "Low Airspeed, Low Airspeed" following recommendations by the Dutch Safety Board.
The "Triple 7" that crashed at SFO apparently had no such voice warning for the three pilots who were inside the cockpit at the time of the crash.
The lawsuits also alleged that the Asiana Flight 214 crew violated Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) policies that all passengers must be evacuated within 90 seconds of impact. Following the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said a flight attendant asked the pilots whether they should evacuate and was told to wait because the pilots were in contact with flight controllers.
The evacuation eventually began after another flight attendant told the pilots that the plane was on fire, according to the NTSB. The lawsuits also alleged a safety disparity between passengers who were seated in coach class -- where only lap seat belts were available -- and those in business and first-class, which were equipped with both lap belts and shoulder belts.
One of the passengers who filed suit Thursday, Shuzhi Han, 72, was sitting in coach with her daughter and granddaughter. Han suffered "serious spinal injuries" in the crash that Pitre believes are related to the absence of a shoulder belt.
It's unclear whether Boeing delivered the aircraft to Asiana with shoulder and lap belts in first and business class -- or whether Asiana upgraded the seat belts later, Pitre said. Either way, he said, "The difference in safety is directly related to the price of a ticket. As a consumer, this is most offensive. My safety and the safety of my family is compromised by my ability to buy a first-class ticket."
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