Lawsuit filed in fiery plane crash

January 12, 2009 4:36:56 PM PST
The first lawsuit is filed in last month's fiery Continental plane accident in Denver. Two passengers on the flight are going after the airline and the pilots.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

One of the passengers onboard flight 1404 says before they even boarded the plane in Denver there was an announcement that there had been engine trouble with that plane previously. The plane, however, did take off. Now that passengers wonders if the crash could have been avoided.

Melissa Craft hoped her first ever Colorado ski trip would be one to remember. It was, she says, but not for the reasons expected.

She recalled, "I felt my back and looked over at my friend who had been skiing with me. And I said, 'We're going to die.' And he said, 'Just hold on.' But he had that look in his eyes like yeah, we might be."

Craft says she was sitting in the last row of flight 1404. She said that as the plane took off it bounced repeatedly.

"We hit two more times, and I thought, 'Ok, either, Lord, just take me now' because it hurt so bad when we came down and we hit," Craft said.

Thirty-eight people were injured. A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report states that pilots said all was normal until the plane, for unexplained reasons, began to veer off the runway. Experts say wind gusts up to 37 miles per hour were recorded on the runway. Those gusts would be strong enough to push the plane.

Attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of Craft and another passenger Monday, suing Continental Airlines and the men piloting the plane, alleging the pilots "...negligently aborted takeoff..." The suit also claims, in part, that the airline was negligent in conducting safety inspections, in failing to maintain and repair the aircraft, in failing to hire and train competent and qualified employees.

Attorney Jason Gibson explained, "In this particular case, they did not do what they were supposed to do."

Gibson represents the two passengers filing suit. He the legal action was also necessary to help those clients recover the full cost of property lost in the crash, as well as medical bills which are a result of it. Both of which he says Continental has been less than willing to do.

"I want what's fair on behalf of my clients and all the rest of the passengers that were on the plane that day without them having to jump through all kinds of hoops to get there," Gibson said.

A spokesperson for Continental Airlines would not respond on camera, but they did release a statement.

"Since the facts of the accident are still being investigated, the allegations are premature. We're prepared to defend the company's actions and those of our crew" - Spokesperson Julie King.

Our repeated attempts to reach the individual pilots of flight 1404 for comment were not successful.

Craft is not seeking any specific dollar amount. She says she lives now with constant back pain and nightmares.

      Headline check | 100 most recent local stories | News alerts
            Slideshow archive | ABC13 wireless | Help solve crimes


Load Comments