Severe Turbulence Results in Passenger's Death on Bombardier Challenger Business Jet Bound for Virginia
March 5, 2023
On Friday, March 3, 2023, a Bombardier Challenger 300 business jet with two crew members and three passengers and bound for Leesburg, Virginia from Keene, New Hampshire experienced severe turbulence, which resulted in the death of one of the passengers. The Bombardier business jet airplane experienced severe turbulence over New England and was diverted to land at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
According to news reports, there was a strong storm system producing snow and high winds in the area that may have contributed to the turbulence.
This flight is at least the third notable airplane turbulence event that resulted in serious injury or death in less than 3 months. On December 18, 2022, a Hawaiian Airlines flight which carried 238 passengers and 10 crew members and heading to Phoenix, Arizona experienced severe turbulence, injuring 36 people. And on March 1, 2023, a Lufthansa flight traveling from Austin, Texas to Frankfurt, Germany with 172 passengers and 12 crew members was diverted to Washington Dulles International Airport following severe turbulence that resulted in 7 people transported to area hospitals.
Bombardier Challenger 300 Turbulence Death In the Media
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder and is investigating the incident. On March 6, 2023, the NTSB said it’s looking at a “reported trim issue,” a reference to adjustments that are made to an airplane’s control surfaces, such as the rudder, elevator and ailerons, to ensure it is stable and level in flight.
During 2022, the FAA adopted a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Bombardier, Inc. airplanes that instructed pilots flying the same model of Bombardier aircraft to take extra pre-flight measures after trim problems had been reported.
Establishing Liability in a Turbulence Case
Determining liability for injuries sustained by a passenger during the course of a turbulence encounter remains the focus of a great deal of litigation. For the Journal of Air Law and Commerce, Kreindler aviation attorneys produced the article, “Handling the Turbulence Case.” Litigating a turbulence case often involves a passenger or passengers being injured during an unannounced turbulence episode. These claims are typically denied, with the airline or private aircraft operator attempting to disclaim liability on one of two grounds:
- the turbulence could not have been reasonably anticipated
- the passenger failed to follow in-flight safety precautions or abide by timely warnings
Kreindler Lawyers’ Experience with Inflight Injury Cases
Kreindler attorneys have successfully handled numerous inflight injury cases, including representing many clients who were seriously injured following their flight encountering severe turbulence.
Spielberg v. American Airlines, Inc.
Kreindler attorneys, led by partners Dan Rose and Jim Kreindler were successful in obtaining a record amount of compensation for a case involving emotional distress caused by severe turbulence. In our case, Spielberg v. American Airlines, Inc., passengers experienced 30 seconds of severe turbulence during American Airlines flight 58 from Los Angeles to New York. In addition to the record award on behalf of 13 passengers, Kreindler landmark victory resulted in American Airlines admitting liability.
Southwest Flight 1380
Kreindler successfully represented multiple injured passengers and the family of the sole passenger who was killed during the flight of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 as a result of the mid-air fracture of a cabin window and the subsequent rapid depressurization of the aircraft.
USAir Turbulence Case
Kreindler represented a passenger who was seriously injured on a USAir flight that encountered severe turbulence with no warning to the passengers. Our client, who was returning to his seat from the lavatory, was thrown into the roof of the plane and suffered a spinal cord injury that left him a paraplegic.
American Eagle Airplane Weather-related Crash
Kreindler represented severely injured passengers following the plane overrunning a landing strip while avoiding thunderstorms.
Continental Auto-Pilot Failure
Kreindler represented flight attendants who sustained injuries after being thrown to the ceiling following the airplane experiencing auto-pilot issues.
Alaska Air Cabin Depressurization
Kreindler successfully represented a seriously injured passenger following a sudden cabin depressurization incident case.
Learn more about Kreindler’s Leading Aviation Accident Law Practice.
About Kreindler & Kreindler
Kreindler is the preeminent aviation accident law firm in the world. The industry’s leading treatise for legal professionals, Aviation Accident Law, was written by the attorneys of Kreindler & Kreindler, and continues to be updated each year by the firm. Since 1950, Kreindler has fought diligently to achieve a record of success in resolving plane and helicopter crash cases on behalf of our clients, both domestic and abroad. Kreindler has law offices in New York, Boston and Los Angeles.
image credit: Bombardier Challenger 300 by Alan Wilson