Passenger sues Southwest Airlines over fatal engine failure

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A passenger aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 has filed a lawsuit against the company calling for compensatory and punitive damages following the fatal engine failure earlier this month.

Lilia Chavez, a passenger from California, was seated three rows behind Jennifer Riordan, the woman who died as a result of the incident that led to an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

The jet’s engine failed April 17 about 20 minutes into the flight from New York to Dallas. Debris from the engine broke open a window, causing passenger Jennifer Riordan to almost get sucked out of the plane.

Chavez claims in her lawsuit that she continues to suffer severe personal injuries including “post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, emotional distress, depression and personal injuries to her body” as a result of the incident.

Chavez’s lawsuit states Southwest and the manufacturer of the plane engine showed disregard in ensuring the safety of passengers because instead of warning passengers or removing the “dangerous engine,” Southwest “continued to operate commercial air carrier services despite knowing that its Boeing 737-300 aircraft … were operating with an unresolved and undisclosed unsafe condition.”

Southwest Airlines told CNN Saturday its focus was to work with the National Transportation Safety Board in investigating the incident.

“We can’t comment on any pending litigation,” the statement said. “The safety and security of our employees and customers is our highest priority at all times.”

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