Damages victory for air crash group

THIRTEEN people won the go-ahead yesterday to claim damages over psychiatric injury they say they suffered when they witnessed a Korean Airlines cargo jet crash seconds after take-off from Stansted airport.

THIRTEEN people won the go-ahead yesterday to claim damages over psychiatric injury they say they suffered when they witnessed a Korean Airlines cargo jet crash seconds after take-off from Stansted airport.

All four crew members died in the December 1999 tragedy when the Boeing 747, which was on its way to Milan, came down in a huge fireball on the edge of Hatfield Forest, near Great Hallingbury.

The test case action against Korean Air Lines Company Ltd, at London's High Court, was brought under the 1982 Civil Aviation Act.

It hinged on whether the claimants could recover compensation for personal injuries consisting of psychiatric or mental injury, such as post traumatic stress disorder.


You may also want to watch:


Mr Justice Simon ruled that "material loss or damage" referred to in the Act was not limited to "physical loss or damage'.

He awarded the claimants 80% of their costs and granted the airline, which denied liability, permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Most Read

The judge ruled in the airline's favour on the question of whether recovery of damages was subject to common law rules as to categories of people who might so recover.

Counsel Philip Shepherd, for the claimants, said they were all in immediate proximity of the "terrifying' crash and believed their lives were in danger.

Aviation fuel was spread over a large area around the crater left in the forest, and the impact of the explosions could be felt many miles away.

Quoting from one typical claim brought by Leonard Glen, he said that Mr Glen was in his house when he heard someone shout that the plane was crashing.

He became aware of loud screaming and the house was plunged into darkness before being lit up "red and orange'.

He heard noises like loud rumbling thunder and the house began to shake violently with dust falling from the ceiling.

It became extremely hot, the noise became louder and he waited for his home to collapse, thinking his family was about to die.

He was confronted with a ball of flames at his front door so high it was impossible to see where it ended.

He had to stop his wife running into the flames in search of their daughter, who later turned up safe.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus