Injured Passengers Request Specialist Aviation Lawyers To Investigate Las Vegas Plane Fire

Experts Say Knowing Exact Cause Of Incident Crucial To Improving Flight Safety


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Passengers who were left injured after a British Airways plane caught fire on the runway in Las Vegas last week are taking legal action as they seek answers as to what caused the ‘terrifying’ incident.

The specialist Aviation team at law firm Irwin Mitchell have received several requests for help by injured passengers and have been instructed to investigate what happened on-board British Airways flight 2276 which caught fire at Las Vegas airport last week leaving many passengers injured.

It is understood that the left engine of the Boeing aircraft suffered a catastrophic failure which caused a serious fire during its take-off roll on its flight to London’s Gatwick. This required an emergency abort of the take-off and the evacuation of all 170 passengers and crew on board.

Clive Garner, head of Aviation Law at Irwin Mitchell representing the passengers, said:

Expert Opinion
“We have been asked to represent a number of injured passengers to represent them and investigate what caused the fire in one of the engines of the Boeing 777 aircraft in Las Vegas on September 8th.

“The primary concern must be ensuring that all of those who have suffered injuries are given the specialist support and advice they need. Some of the passengers have suffered physical injuries and from previous experience we know that such a terrifying incident can also cause psychological injuries to those involved. Many passengers also inhaled fumes produced by the fire which may have been toxic.

“The psychological impact of a life threatening event like this should not be underestimated. Counselling and other relevant support may also be required to help those affected overcome what they have been through."
Clive Garner, Partner

Steve Bingham, 35, from Hillsborough, County Down, was one of those terrified passengers on-board who is now taking legal action. He suffered an injury to his arm during the evacuation of the aircraft and also inhaled smoke from the burning aircraft. He has been prescribed medication to help him overcome the psychological trauma he has suffered.

He said: “The plane accelerated for take-off, then there was a loud bang and jolt followed by an abrupt emergency stop. At that point, I thought the plane was going to tip on its side or crash.

“Many people were screaming, with some then shouting about fire. Then I saw thick black smoke from the windows on both sides of the aircraft, but the cabin crew were still telling us to stay seated at this point! Seconds later, the pilot ordered the evacuation.

“Once out of the plane, the staff were screaming at us to run away. I started to run and looked back towards the plane to see that it was on fire with flames reaching twice the height of the aircraft. All I could think was that if it reaches the fuel tanks and explodes we will be killed.

“I’m still suffering from the incident and have regular flashbacks. You simply never expect something like this to happen. I am continuing to suffer from the effects of what happened but I know we are all incredibly lucky not to have been more seriously injured.”

An interim report issued by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed ‘multiple breaches’ in the casing of the engine, with parts of it being found on the runway. Other investigations, including the examination of flight data and cockpit voice recording equipment, are on-going.

Irwin Mitchell’s Aviation Law team is now conducting their own investigations into the fire on behalf of those passengers affected and, prior to publication of the NTSB report, predicted the possibility of an engine turbine blade detaching and causing damage to other parts of the aircraft, including fuel and hydraulic pipes and a resultant fire.

Jim Morris, a former RAF Boeing pilot and specialist Aviation Law Partner at Irwin Mitchell, said:

Expert Opinion
“Although the crew should be commended for their response to this serious emergency, we have now heard directly how this terrifying incident and evacuation affected the passengers and the physical injuries and psychological trauma that they suffered.

“The risks associated with this kind of engine failure on an aircraft laden with fuel during take-off cannot be over emphasised. As such, it is crucial that the NTSB quickly identify the full chain of events that led to this catastrophic engine failure so that appropriate measures can be implemented to improve flight safety.

“The passengers and crew were all very fortunate to have avoided being trapped in an uncontrolled fire, but if this were to happen again the outcome could be catastrophic. Understanding what went wrong and how the industry and authorities respond will not only help the passengers and crew come to terms with their experience, but should also help reassure members of the public that lessons have been learned.”
Jim Morris, Partner

Irwin Mitchell’s Aviation law team has vast experience in acting for injured victims and the families of those killed in aviation incidents across the globe, including a Jet 2 Boeing 737 take off emergency due to fumes and an Air Berlin A330 Airbus catastrophic engine failure shortly after take-off.

The team also represent the families of all of the British residents killed in the Germanwings tragedy and represented survivors and the families of those killed who recently received an apology from British Airways on the 30th anniversary of the Manchester Air Disaster, when 55 people were killed after exposure to toxic smoke following an engine fire on a British Airtours jet.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Air Accident Claims.