Lincolnshire Couple Receive £340,000 Compensation after Plane Crash

Plane crash compensation

07.06.2007

A Couple from Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire have been awarded £340,000 in an out of court settlement after they were seriously injured in a plane crash abroad whilst on a safari holiday in Tanzania to celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary.

Brian and Kathleen Holland were both injured in an accident on 17 March 2004 when the plane they were travelling in had to make an emergency landing after suffering engine failure.

Although the pilot tried to land on a road carriageway, oncoming traffic forced him off the road, causing the plane to crash. The plane was carrying 8 passengers, 5 of them were seriously injured including both Mr and Mrs Holland.

Mr Holland suffered serious leg and back injuries whilst Mrs Holland fractured her left ankle and suffered a serious spinal injury. Mrs Holland spent a week in the intensive care unit in Nairobi before being flown back to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield where she spent several months receiving in-patient treatment.

Mr and Mrs Holland sought damages against 3 Defendants including the tour operator that arranged the package holiday, Okavango Explorations (UK) Limited, trading as Hartleys Safaris, as well as Regional Air Services Limited, the carrier in Tanzania and AirKenya Aviation Limited, the company that was responsible for the maintenance of the engine that failed.

Plane crash solicitor comments

Clive Garner, Head of the International Travel Litigation Group at law firm Irwin Mitchell who dealt with the plane crash claim said:

Mr and Mrs Holland both suffered very serious injuries in this accident and they are continuing to suffer significant ongoing difficulties as a result."

This was a complex legal action involving claims against 3 defendants, one in England, one in Kenya and one in Tanzania. The accident occurred in Tanzania during the course of an internal flight and while the Montreal Convention now provides a basic level of protection for passengers injured in international flights, this Convention had not been ratified in Tanzania and therefore did not apply in Mr and Mrs Hollands case. Although we were able to bring their claim in the English courts, Kenyan and Tanzanian law was relevant to a number of issues and experts were instructed to investigate the cause of the engine failure and the adequacy of the maintenance of the Cessna plane they were flying in.

After a tough legal battle I am delighted that settlement was agreed with all 3 Defendants. Mr and Mrs Holland have already moved to a suitable bungalow that will meet their immediate and long term housing needs. If the Montreal Convention for International Carriage by Air had applied to their claims they would have recovered a significantly higher level of damages

The safety of air travel in parts of Africa has been the subject of considerable concern following the loss of a number of aircraft. With such concerns about air safety it is crucial that passengers are compensated appropriately when things go wrong and it is hoped that the protection offered by the Montreal Convention is extended to all air travel throughout Africa and indeed to all countries which have not yet ratified it.

Mr Holland said:

I am very pleased to see the end of this complicated court case. Kathleen and I have been worried about the life changing injuries that we sustained and how we would be able to manage without employment in the future.

The damages that we have recovered have gone some way to resolving our concerns and with our recent move to a new and suitable property, we are now confident that we will manage in the future.

Plane crash compensation claims

If you have been involved in a plane crash or general air disaster, our solicitors can help you make a compensation claim. It has a strong team you can trust and has acted for Claimants in many major air disasters in the UK. We have helped the victims of international air disasters, light aircraft, helicopter and plane crashes.