Friday, June 30, 2017

Passengers sue over injuries after 2015 plane fire: Dynamic Airways, Boeing 767-200, N251MY, Flight 2D-405; accident occurred October 29, 2015 at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (KFLL), Broward County, Florida

Dozens of passengers aboard an aborted Fort Lauderdale-Caracas flight in 2015 have sued Dynamic International Airways, operator of a Boeing 767 that failed to take off when an engine fire erupted at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

The lawsuit, filed June 16 in Broward Circuit Court, seeks unspecified damages on behalf of 77 passengers on the ill-fated Oct. 29, 2015 flight. It alleges the plane caught fire due to “acts, negligence and willful misconduct,” by the airline and pilot. A number of people said they were hurt while evacuating the plane.

Plaintiff attorney Steven Marks of the Miami law firm Podhurst Orseck said some individual claims could reach into the millions of dollars due to the severity of injuries that impacted the passengers’ quality of life and their ability to work.

“All had some injuries ... and the anxiety, the nightmares [and] fear of flying, that only gets worse,” Marks told the Sun Sentinel this week. “Those people will be scarred forever.”

Among the passengers seeking money is an anesthesiologist who suffered a shoulder injury and can no longer perform her job. Several others had orthopedic injuries, Marks said.

He said the lawsuit was a last resort after efforts over the past 18 months failed to secure settlements with the airline’s London-based insurance company.

Marks asserted the insurer has “hundreds of millions of dollars” to settle the claims. Both the airline and insurance company have been unresponsive for months, he added.

A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board a few days following the incident said of the 90 passengers and 11 crew members on Dynamic Flight 405, one sustained serious injuries and 21 had minor injuries during the emergency evacuation.

The NTSB review also revealed a critical fuel line mechanism had been disconnected above and behind the left engine and wing, where the fire erupted sending thick black smoke into the air.

The agency also said the twin-engine Boeing 767 had been in dry storage for about 29 months before Dynamic leased it the September before the fire. An initial inspection of the aircraft’s onboard logbook showed no maintenance had been performed prior to the fire on the plane’s fuel line coupling assembly.

A board spokesman said Friday the accident is still under investigation.

Marks contends the airline was at fault for not performing the proper aircraft maintenance that led to the fuel leak that ignited the fire. He also alleges Dynamic failed to train crew members on proper emergency exit procedures.

“This whole [accident] might have been avoided if the proper procedures were followed and the plane evacuated where it was on the runway instead of trying to bring it back to the gate, which is when the fire broke out,” Marks said.

Officials from Dynamic could not be reached for comment.

The carrier ended service between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Caracas in August 2016 a little more than a year after launching operations. Dynamic gave no reason for the cancellation. The fire-damaged jetliner remains idled in the northwest corner of the airport.

For some passengers, time has done little to erase memories of the traumatic experience.

“It was really chaotic,” said passenger David Magro, 23, in a telephone interview, recalling he and his sister had been traveling to Caracas for a cousin’s wedding.

Today, he still has to muster the courage and try not to worry when he boards a plane.

“I still remember it pretty well,” he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

NTSB Identification: DCA16FA013
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of Dynamic International
Accident occurred Thursday, October 29, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Aircraft: BOEING 767, registration: N251MY
Injuries: 1 Serious, 21 Minor, 79 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 29, 2015, about 1233 eastern daylight time (EDT), Dynamic International Airways flight 405, a Boeing 767-200ER, N251MY, caught fire while taxiing for departure at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Fort Lauderdale, Florida. One passenger received serious injuries and the remaining 89 passengers and 11 crewmembers received minor injuries or were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage from the fire. The scheduled charter flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 supplemental and was en route to Maiquetia - Simon Bolivar International Airport (CCS), Caracas, Venezuela. 

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