Personal Injury

Mid-air emergency in Australia leaves passengers with personal injuries

In Australia on October 10, a plane that encountered a mid-air emergency resulted in injuries to 50 passengers. This mid-air emergency could cause Qantas to spend millions of dollars to compensate passengers.

According to the Australian News, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau reported that “data obtained from the A330-300’s recorder and cockpit voice recorder showed the jet had been cruising at 37,000ft before it suddenly climbed about 200ft, then pitched nose-down to descend about 650ft in 20 seconds.  The plane then returned to cruise normally before descending 400ft in another nose-down pitch, which lasted a further 16 seconds.”

When the crisis occurred, the plane was traveling from Singapore to Perth. As a result of the emergency, the pilot had to make an early landing at Learmonth air base, which is close to Exmouth, 1200 km north of Perth.

Nearly all of the 303 passengers have a claim, and the Civil Aviation Commonwealth Act gives passengers the right to receive compensation for injury, death, and damaged luggage.  The cap amount, set at $500,000, will have to be reviewed because if passengers received  permanent personal injuries, this amount would not be enough.

A computer malfunction is believed to be the culprit in the jet plane’s plunge. The hundreds-of-feet-plunge caused passengers, crew, and luggage to fly off the roof of the plane, causing personal injuries to passengers and the crew and damage to the luggage.

A Qantas spokesperson said the travel expenses for the QF72 passengers would be reimbursed “in the form of an ex-gratia payment.” Each passenger will also receive a Qantas travel voucher, allowing the passenger to fly from Australia and London for free.

Of the passengers and crew, five remained in the hospital in a stable condition, due to injuries.