77 passengers who were on a 2015 flight to Caracas at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that was aborted after a fire erupted on the plane’s left engine are suing Dynamic Airways for unspecified damages. The lawsuit claims a number of passengers were injured during the evacuation process.
The lawsuit, filed last month in Broward Circuit Court, alleges that the aircraft caught fire because of “negligence and willful misconduct,” by the pilot and Dynamic Airways. Some of the passenger’s claims may reportedly reach into the millions because of the seriousness of the injuries they suffered.
“All had some injuries . . . and the anxiety, the nightmares [and] fear of flying, that only gets worse,” plaintiff attorney Steven Marks of Podhurst Orseck told the Sun Sentinel. “Those people will be scarred forever.”
Marks said one of the passengers is an anesthesiologist who injured her a shoulder and can no longer perform her job. Many others suffered bone injuries. He told the Sentinel the lawsuit was a final resort after his firm spent 18 months trying to secure settlements from Dynamic Airway’s insurance company. He added that both the carrier and insurance company have been unresponsive for several months.
A report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said of the 90 passengers and almost a dozen crew members on the flight, one sustained severe injuries and 21 had minor injuries during the emergency evacuation.
The NTSB report revealed that a critical fuel line mechanism near the left engine and wing had been disconnected; that was where the fire reportedly started. The Boeing 767 had allegedly been in dry storage for over two years before Dynamic Airways leased it in 2015. An inspection of the plane’s logbook showed no maintenance was done on the aircraft’s fuel line coupling assembly before the passengers boarded the plane. The cause of the accident is reportedly still under investigation.
Marks believes Dynamic is at fault for failing to perform proper maintenance and that led to the fuel leak that caused the fire to erupt. He also claims Dynamic failed to train its crew members on proper emergency evacuation procedures.
“This whole [accident] might have been avoided if the proper procedures were followed and the plane evacuated where it was on the runaway instead of trying to bring it back to the gate, which is when the fire broke out,” Marks said.
Dynamic ended flights to Caracas from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in 2016, just over a year after it launched operations. The carrier did not give a reason for the cancelation. The damaged Boeing 767 remains in storage at the airport.
Some of the passengers are reportedly having a hard time putting the traumatic experience behind them. Passenger David Magro told the Sentinel that he still has to calm himself when he boards a plane.
“It was really chaotic,” Magro said. He and his sister had been flying to Caracas for a wedding. “I still remember it pretty well.”