Children and adults at several Los Angeles schools suffered injuries when a Delta flight bound for Shanghai experienced engine issues and dumped jet fuel on Jan. 14. According to an ABC News report, at least 60 people were being treated after the aircraft dumped fuel over the schools as it prepared for an emergency landing. Firefighters and paramedics evaluated the people, who were affected by the fuel dump after the incident. There were no hospital transports or evacuation orders for the area. Officials said Los Angeles County Fire had 44 patients and city fire officials had 16.
Aircraft Prepares for Emergency Landing
The fuel dump happened near Cudahy and South Los Angeles elementary schools. A third high school, Jordan High School, was also affected by the fuel dump. Delta Airlines said in a statement that flight 89 had just taken off from Los Angeles International Airport and was bound for Shanghai carrying 149 passengers and 15 crew members. The aircraft experienced an engine issue requiring the aircraft to return to the airport. The plane then began to intentionally dump fuel over the ocean shortly after takeoff at 7,000 to 8,000 feet.
When the airplane approached the school area, it was at about 2,300 feet and was on final approach to the airport. The aircraft ended up landing safely after releasing the fuel, which was required as part of a normal procedure to reach a safe landing weight, a Delta spokesperson said. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends that fuel dumping be done above 5,000 to 6,000 feet above ground level, because more than 90% of the fuel would have evaporated at that altitude. The fire department confirmed that the jet fuel sickened students and adults. The FAA said it is investigating the matter.
Impact and Liability Issues
According to the National Research Council, acute exposure to jet fuels has been associated with neurological effects in humans, including headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, in coordination, irritability and problems with attention and memory. Persistent effects can include “peripheral neuropathy and behavioral changes, such as reduced performance on tests of attention and psychomotor speed.”
In this case, we hope a thorough investigation is being conducted of why the aircraft had technical issues. Did the aircraft lack proper maintenance? Did the mechanics inspecting the engine before takeoff fail to do their jobs? In such cases, victims who suffered health effects may be able to seek compensation for their injuries damages and losses from the airline and other potential parties. An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who handles toxic exposure cases will be able to help victims and their families better understand their legal rights and options.