The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Monday, May 14, 2018

Fault and the Fatal Southwest Airlines Accident

Who is at-fault for the Southwest plane accident that killed one passenger?

Recently, Southwest Flight 1380 suffered an engine failure that resulted in the death of one passenger and forced the pilot to make an emergency landing in order to save the lives of everyone else on board. Now, federal officials continue to investigate this fatal plane accident. Thus far, it has been determined that the engine failure stemmed from metal fatigue. Planes of the same make across the country are being closely examined to determine whether like accidents could occur. Now, much of the nation is asking, how could this accident happen and who bears the fault for it?

Engine Failure Aboard Flight 1380

Southwest Flight 1380 suffered uncontained engine failure approximately 20 minutes into the flight from New York to Dallas. Engines can fail in two ways. First, the engine may shut down and fail to produce a thrust. Should this happen, the plane will still likely be able to fly and land safely on one engine.

Alternatively, an uncontained engine failure happens when the plane’s engine fails and ejects its components. This is what occurred on Flight 1380. In an uncontrolled engine failure scenario, items from inside the engine, including the fans, discs, compressors, and more, fly into the air while traveling at incredible speeds. Generally, even these flying components do not cause injury, but when they travel towards the plane the results can be catastrophic.

On the doomed Southwest flight, uncontained engine parts pierced the cabin and a window, causing the now deceased passenger to be sucked partially from the plane and injuring several others. As the cabin rapidly lost pressure, the pilot was able to miraculously land the plane safely, saving the lives of all but the one passenger who had been partially ejected.

Now the question remains, who is at-fault for the death of this passenger and injuries to several others aboard? Reports indicate that the pilot was far from at-fault; to the contrary, she singlehandedly dealt with a dangerous and frightening scenario with complete calm. Her actions likely saved many lives. Investigations are instead focused on both the airline and the makers of the failed engine. Southwest will be producing reports as to their safety procedures and routine maintenance. Boeing planes will be closely scrutinized for engine defects or failures. Litigation may well arise following this horrific fatal accident.

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