Passenger sues airline over LaGuardia nose landing

Passenger sues airline over LaGuardia nose landing
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POSTED: Saturday, August 3, 2013 - 8:00pm

UPDATED: Saturday, August 3, 2013 - 8:04pm

A passenger who says she was injured after the nose gear of a Southwest Airlines jetliner collapsed during a landing at New York's LaGuardia Airport filed a lawsuit, according to her attorney.

Jacqueline Young's "injuries include her head, neck, back, and shoulder... she got hurt when she was sliding down the ramp and there was no one there to catch her," according to her lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein.

According to the city's port authority, 10 people suffered minor injuries as a result of the July 22 landing.

Southwest Flight 345 was landing at LaGuardia from Nashville about 5:40 p.m. when the incident occurred. The nose of the blue-and-orange Boeing 737 jet came to rest on the ground after the aircraft came to a stop, and passengers evacuated the aircraft on emergency slides.

The lawsuit against Southwest Airlines, filed in Queens, New York, alleges that due to the airline's "negligence" Young, 48, "sustained serious, severe and permanent injuries to her limbs and body, still suffers and will continue to suffer for some time, great physical and mental pain and serious bodily injury."

"We are unable to comment on pending litigation," according to Whitney Eichinger, a representative for the airline.

The National Transportation Safety Board said that video and other sources provide evidence that the nose gear contacted the tarmac before the main wheels.

Under a normal landing in a big jet, the main landing gear under each wing would touch the runway first and simultaneously -- absorbing the main stress of landing -- and the nose gear then lowered gradually as the plane decelerates down the runway.

"The aircraft skidded down the runway on its nose and then veered off and came to rest in a grass area between the runway and taxiway foxtrot," Thomas Bosco, the airport's general manager, told reporters shortly after the crash. It stopped about halfway down the 7,000-foot runway.

A total of 150 people were aboard the flight.

Initially, the Federal Aviation Administration said the crew reported a possible nose gear problem before landing, but later amended that to say that after it reviewed air controller tapes, no issues were noted ahead of time.

"They are responsible for landing the plane properly ... to have the nose pointed upward so the main landing gear touches down first," Rubenstein told CNN Saturday. His client lives in South Carolina.

CNN's Mike Ahlers, Caleb Silver and Aaron Cooper contributed to this report. 

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