In interviews with Washington Post, Daily Business Review, Law360 and WFAA, Dallas Managing Partner Ladd Sanger discussed the recent Southwest Airlines engine failure and subsequent emergency landing that resulted in the death of one passenger. Twenty minutes in to the flight from LaGuardia Airport to Dallas, a metal fan blade broke off, causing the engine to explode and propelling debris into the plane. As a result, passenger Jennifer Riordan’s window shattered, and she was partially sucked out of the plane, resulting in her death from blunt force trauma to the head, neck and back.
The air pressure inside the airplane was likely about 11psi compared to about 4psi outside the aircraft flying at 33,000 feet. “When the window ruptures, you have those two pressure levels trying to equalize,” said Sanger. “The pressure inside the airplane is escaping out that hole to attempt to equalize, which is why it’s creating that suction and pulling from inside the aircraft. You think about the pressure differential. It’s about somewhere between six and eight times.”
Attorneys are already fielding calls from the passengers on the flight. Sanger continued, “They’re looking to see what their rights are. We suspect there are going to be claims by passengers against the airline and engine manufacturer.”
Read Washington Post article.
Read Daily Business Review article.
Read the Law360 article (subscription required)
Watch interview with WFAA.
In the aftermath of the engine failure on the Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, federal investigators are focusing on a broken metal fan which could signal a need for more inspections of metal fatigue of planes. USA Today interviewed Dallas Managing Partner Ladd Sanger to discuss the implications this incident could have on the way airlines inspect their planes.
Investigators are looking into one of the 24 fan blades that push air into the left engine of the 737-700 that broke off during the flight and forced the plane to make an emergency landing. Fatigue cracks were found on the inside of the broken fan blade, but it is too early to tell whether it might have resulted from a manufacturing flaw. In August 2016, Southwest Airlines had a similar engine failure incident raising concern about recurring problems with their inspection program. According to Sanger, airlines will need to re-evaluate their inspection programs to determine if engines should be examined more frequently.
“It appears that the containment mechanism needs to be re-evaluated and redesigned,” said Sanger. “When you get to two within a two-year period, as rigorous as the inspection and manufacturing processes are, you’re starting to talk about a pattern developing. It’s not only a pattern of blade failures, but a pattern of uncontained engine failures that shouldn’t happen in the first place.”
Sanger also points out that passengers may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome. “The takeaway for passengers is that this could be a harrowing event,” said Sanger. “You might want to think about getting some type of counseling for PTSD.”
Southwest Airlines Engine Failure Investigation Focuses on Broken Metal Fan Blade.
Southwest Airlines Pilots, Executives Reacted Well to Fatal Engine Failure, Experts Say.
One week after a Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) AS350 crashed into the East River in New York killing five passengers, CGTN America spoke with Partner Michael Slack about the series of accidents that’s putting the spotlight on sightseeing helicopter safety.
In particular, the safety of open-door helicopter tours has been the subject of scrutiny following the Liberty Helicopters Crash in New York’s East River on Sunday, March 11 and the announcement from the Federal Aviation Administration to temporarily ban open-door helicopter tours. Slack questions if passengers, who are allowed to fly without doors as long as they are harnessed, are being properly trained.
“If these completely unforgiving harnesses – that are almost impossible to get out of – are required in order to have open-cockpit flights, then safety almost demands that you don’t have open-cockpit flights,” said Slack. He also sheds light on the fact that tour operators are stretching themselves thin, attempting to maximize profits by working their pilots and equipment for long periods of time.
“Long hours mean fatigue for pilots, overutilization for the helicopters, and the unusual weather circumstances, that many times the pilots are not experienced with when they become pilots in a new area,” he said.
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WNBC in New York interviewed Partners Michael Slack and Ladd Sanger on the deadly safety mechanics involved in the Liberty Helicopter tour crash in the East River, which killed five passengers on board when they were unable to escape from their harnesses.
A simulation training video demonstrated the complicated, multi-point harness like the one used in an open-door helicopter tour. The complicated harness coupled with the upside down position of the helicopter as it was submerged in water was disorienting to the passengers who would have needed to use a blade to cut themselves loose. Slack points out that the harnesses alone raise a glaring red flag, especially since victim Brian McDaniel, a Dallas firefighter who was trained to untangle himself in high-pressure situations was not able to remove the harness.
According to Sanger, “When you have a situation where the helicopter is upside down in the water, it would be virtually impossible for those people to untangle themselves, and these kinds of harnesses should never be used on multiple passengers,” he said. “That’s dangerous, it’s irresponsible and it shouldn’t have happened.”
Also alarming are the comments from the pilot that the fuel shut-off lever may have been accidentally triggered by a bag, according to a law enforcement official. “If the bag could hit the emergency cut-off valve, that’s not a good combination and the NTSB needs to study that,” said Slack.
Watch Slack’s interview.
Watch Sanger’s interview.
As featured in Texas Lawyer, Ladd Sanger was promoted to name partner and the name of the firm to Slack Davis Sanger. Sanger, an FAA-licensed commercial airplane and helicopter pilot, has focused his practice on air crash litigation and has litigated cases in multiple states and federal courts around the U.S. He has been with the firm since 2003.
“The firm’s name change is in recognition of Ladd’s significant contributions to the firm, his dedication to his clients and his dedication to advocating for aviation passenger safety,” said Michael Slack, Managing Partner of Slack Davis Sanger.
Sanger, along with the firm, has handled numerous helicopter and airplane crashes, and through litigation, worked to hold operators, manufacturers and others responsible for the serious injury and death of aviation passengers.
Read full article here.