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8 Southwest Airlines Passengers Are Suing After Fatal Flight

Eight of the passengers who survived a deadly engine explosion on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 have filed a lawsuit against the airline.

Passengers Cindy Candy Arenas, Jaky Alyssa Arenas, Jiny Alexa Arenas, Elhadji Cisse, Donald Kirkland, Beverly Kirkland, Connor Brown, and Cassandra Addams are suing Southwest Airlines for damages, citing injuries from hearing loss to post traumatic stress disorder, following the flight and emergency landing. Joe Arenas, the husband of Cindy Arenas, is also listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Passenger Lilia Chavez filed her own, separate lawsuit in April.

The lawsuit against Southwest Airlines asserts that the passengers who survived the explosion on Flight 1380 had to face their worst fear: being trapped in an airplane and crashing to their deaths. The lawsuit states that the plaintiffs suffered severe mental, emotional, and psychological injuries as a direct result of the crash. Some of the passengers in the suit claim that their marriages were ruined due to the impact that the incident had on them.

The plaintiffs are claiming negligence on behalf of all defendants. Boeing, GE Aviation, Safran USA, and CFM are named as co-defendants in the suit, as they had roles in the design, development and manufacture of the engines and aircraft used on the flight, according to the lawsuit.

On April 17, 20 minutes into its journey from New York City to Dallas, Texas, Southwest Airlines Flight 1380’s left engine failed and self-destructed. The explosion shattered a window on the aircraft, which rapidly and violently decompressed the air within the cabin. The passenger nearest the window, Jennifer Riordan, was sucked into it and her body became lodged. She eventually died from her injuries. This was the first death on a US airline in nearly a decade and the first ever on any Southwest Airlines flight.

The pilot was able to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Southwest Airlines gave all 144 passengers $5,000 and a credit of $1,000 toward airfare with the company. They also provided them transportation to their destination out of Philadelphia.