Asiana Airlines drops plans to file suit against local TV station as 83 crash survivors pursue own legal action
In the weeks following the July 6 crash, survivors have banned together to sue Asiana Airlines and Boeing as the airline contemplated a suit of its own.
By Nina Golgowski / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
In the wake of the deadly Asiana plane crash, the legal finger-pointing is rampant.
Even as Asiana Airlines is dropping its planned lawsuit against a local TV station it accused of damaging its reputation over a racially offensive report, 83 passengers nearly killed in this month’s crash have announced their own suit against the airline and Boeing.
Asiana announced Wednesday that it has accepted San Francisco station KTVU’s on-air apology delivered immediately after their bogus reporting on their pilot’s names and will no longer pursue legal action.
Company spokeswoman Lee Hyomin had said Monday the report seriously damaged Asiana’s reputation.
A Chicago law firm also began taking steps Monday to sue aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co. on behalf of 83 people who were aboard the Asiana Airlines flight that crash-landed in San Francisco on July 6. There were 307 passengers and crew on board.
The court filing claims the crash might have been caused by a mechanical malfunction of the Boeing 777’s auto throttle, causing it to land too low. Emergency slides and seat belts also malfunctioned, the claim states, further injuring and briefly trapping some passengers and crew in their first moments of terror.
The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet released its report.
Ribbeck Law Chartered on Monday filed a petition for discovery — a move meant to preserve evidence — in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, where Boeing is headquartered.
The law firm said in a news release that additional pleadings will be filed against Asiana Airlines and several component parts manufacturers in coming days.
Three people were killed when the airplane, flying from South Korea to San Francisco International Airport, approached the runway too low and slow. It clipped a seawall at the end of a runway, tearing off the tail and sending the plane spinning down the runway. The impact caused the plane to catch fire.
Ribbeck said that in addition to potential problems with the auto throttle, some emergency slides reportedly opened inside the plane, injuring passengers and blocking their exit, and some passengers had to be cut out of their seatbelts with a knife.
“We must find the causes of the crash and demand that the problems with the airline and the aircraft are immediately resolved to avoid future tragedies,” attorney Monica R. Kelly, head of Ribbeck’s aviation department, said in a written statement.
Boeing spokesman John Dern said the company had no comment.
The petition asks a judge to order Boeing to identify the designer and manufacturer of the airplane’s auto throttle and its emergency evacuation slides. It also seeks information on the systems that indicate the airplane’s glide slope and that warn how close it is to the ground.
Kelly said the firm wants to protect the wreckage “from destructive testing” and to obtain maintenance records, internal memos and other evidence.
The pilots of Asiana Flight 214 have told investigators they were relying on automated cockpit equipment to control their speed. Inspectors found that the auto throttle had been “armed,” or made ready for activation, but investigators are still determining whether it had been engaged, the National Transportation Safety Board has said.
Two of the plane’s eight slides malfunctioned, opening inside the cabin and pinning two flight attendants underneath them.
With News Wire Services