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.”
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