Another Passenger Sues After Engine Caught Fire at O'Hare in 2016

Another passenger has filed a lawsuit against Boeing and American Airlines after the airplane she was on caught fire last year on the O’Hare International Airport tarmac when part of the engine failed.

About 20 people were taken to hospitals after the right engine of Miami-bound American Airlines Flight 383 broke into four pieces about 2:30 p.m. Oct. 28, 2016, according to fire officials and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The suit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court also names General Electric Aviation as a defendant, claiming the company sold faulty engines that Boeing used to assemble the 767 aircraft.

The plaintiff, Emily Schnoll, was seated in a row that was adjacent to the area where the engine caught fire, according to the suit. As a result, she was “violently thrown about the cabin and then caused to endure smoke from the engine failure entering the cabin area.”

Due to her inability to evacuate the plane in a timely manner, Schnoll also claims to have suffered “emotional and physical distress.” In addition, the suit claims that Schnoll was unlawfully detained by police at O’Hare following the incident.

Representatives for Boeing and GE did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday evening.

An NTSB report issued after the fire said one of the fractures on the turbine disk of the engine was “consistent with fatigue cracking.” Takeoff was aborted due to the “uncontained engine failure” that led to fuel pooling under the plane’s right wing, which then burst into flames, authorities said.

One piece of the turbine disk went through the inboard section of the right wing, over the fuselage and into a UPS warehouse facility more than a half-mile away. Another piece was found about 1,600 feet away, but it was still on O’Hare property, authorities said.

No fire breached the cabin, and the 20 hospitalized passengers were released a night after the fire.

“We’re proud of our pilots, flight attendants and other team members who responded quickly to take care of our customers under very challenging circumstances,” a representative for American said in an emailed statement. “American is actively participating in the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation and will continue to work with the NTSB and the other parties to the investigation of this event.”

In November 2016, 18 passengers filed suit claiming American, Boeing and GE acted negligently.

The latest five-count negligence suit seeks more than $250,000 in damages.

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