HOLLYWOOD HILLS—A former Southwest Airlines passenger filed a lawsuit against the company on Monday, March 23 for negligence and strict liability. The complaint seeks unspecified damages.
The plaintiff, Elizabeth Buckly indicated that Southwest flight 278 took off from Oakland, California and landed at the Hollywood Burbank Airport on December 6, 2018 shortly after 9:05 a.m. As the jet came down the runway, the pilot lost control causing the jet to skid violently off runway striking eight vehicles on Hollywood Way. The plane came to rest in a Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) at the end of the runway. The system is designed to stop aircraft from overrunning the runway.
According to the suit, Buckly was “terrified and in fear for her life as her plane skidded violently off the runway and almost crashed into vehicles.” She claims that the experience caused her to develop anxiety and insomnia. The two conditions required her to seek therapy and take medication.
Despite the efforts to treat her anxiety and insomnia, the plaintiff argued in the suit that she still suffers from severe anxiety, insomnia, terrifying memories, and unwanted thoughts.
According to Southwest Airlines, there were no other reports of injuries among the 112 passengers and five crew members on the plane during the incident.
In April 2018, Southwest Airlines cancelled dozens of flights for safety inspections after a passenger died by being partially sucked out of one of their plane’s windows.
Aviation experts say that flying is the safest form of travel with only on1 fatality every 16 million flights. Aviophobia, the fear of flying is a very common fear affecting 2.5 percent to 5.6 percent of the population.
According to psychologists, since the prevalent fear of flying doesn’t match the actual numbers of aviation fatalities they label the phenomena “the fear of the rare.”