The 149 passengers onboard Southwest Airlines flight 345 had no idea anything was wrong as their Boeing 737 descended toward the tarmac on Monday, July 22nd. Seconds from the safety of solid ground, the plane crash landed, the nose gear smashing up through the avionics compartment. The plane skidded down the runway, sparks flying from the wing-mounted engines, before coming to a rest on the grassy median.
When the damage was assessed, a total of sixteen people reported minor injuries including all of the flight attendants (3 out of the 5 crew members onboard the jet). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) investigated the crash, pulling the cockpit voice recorders and examining eyewitness video. The investigation determined that the nose of the plane dropped immediately before touchdown causing the nose gear of the plane to contact the runway before the rear landing gear. While the investigation is ongoing, the agencies have not ruled out pilot error.
At the time of the accident, the plane was under the control of the second officer who had been with the company just 18 months and had just 1,100 hours of flight time. The captain was a veteran with the company, carrying over 5,200 hours of experience, yet he had only ever flown into LaGuardia Airport once before.
All flights in and out of LaGuardia were halted until the runway could be cleared. Partial service resumed later that day and full service the next morning.
Airplane accidents are uncommon-just 15 fatal accidents worldwide in 2012. That translates into one fatal accident for roughly 2.5 million flights. However, when such accidents do occur they are generally horrific and the number of injuries (fatal or otherwise) can rise dramatically. By all accounts, the LaGuardia crash was about as mild as they come yet 6 people were taken directly from the tarmac to nearby hospitals. And even relatively minor injuries can rack up massive medical bills, lost wages, and prescription costs.
Any person or passenger injured in an aviation accident should consult with a lawyer. Only a New York personal injury attorney has the experience and training to properly investigate and successfully bring a lawsuit against the responsible party whether it is the airline, pilot and/or airline mechanic. If you or a loved one has been involved in an airplane accident, call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation to learn your rights at 646-736-2777 or 212-385-1122.