Boeing sued over US-Poland plane that crash-landed

Associated Press Modified: November 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm •  Published: November 9, 2012
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CHICAGO (AP) — Passengers on a plane that crash-landed in Poland last year when its landing gear failed to deploy have sued Boeing and the firm that inspected the airliner before it departed New Jersey, with one attorney saying his clients suffered severe emotional trauma from thinking they were about to die.

A lawsuit claiming both physical and psychological damage was filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, where Boeing is headquartered, contends design flaws in the 767-300 led to fluid leaking from the hydraulic system. It said workers of New York-based Mach II Maintenance should have detected it.

Around 230 people were aboard the November 2011 Lot Airlines flight when it hit the runway, sparks flying as its belly scraped the pavement at Warsaw's Chopin Airport. The pilot, Capt. Tadeusz Wrona, was later hailed as a national hero in Poland after their appeared to be no serious injuries.

But the psychological trauma was intense, as the pilot told passengers over the intercom that the crew had no choice but to land without wheels, the Chicago-area attorney representing the plaintiffs told The Associated Press on Friday.

"You've got the pilot telling them that things aren't looking good, you had people texting their loved ones saying, 'I don't know if I'll ever see you again, goodbye,' " said Floyd Wisner. "There's the terror that you are about to die."

Some of the around 80 passengers listed as plaintiffs still are plagued by nightmares, he said, and some say they can never set foot on a plane again, Wisner said, calling it "classic post-traumatic stress disorder."

People who are skeptical of such claims don't understand what his clients went through, he added.

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