Malfunctioning smoke detectors screeched so loud, they caused the ear drums of two airline attendants to burst and bleed, a new lawsuit alleges.
The attendants, Lee Sanders and Matthew Sodrok, are now suing Boeing BA, -0.63% in Houston, Texas federal court, claiming the airplane maker is at fault for their permanent hearing loss.
The personal injury case said the January 2017 United Airlines UAL, -0.32% flight from Denver, Colo. to Houston, Texas, aboard a Boeing 737 aircraft, was happening without incident when “an ear-splitting ringing filled the aircraft” despite no smoke or fire.
“This malfunction resulted in plaintiffs’ ears’ drums bursting and bleeding, and permanent hearing loss to plaintiffs’ ears,” court papers said.
According to the attendants, Boeing was liable both for detectors that didn’t respond to “proper stimuli” and also for failing to design detectors that wouldn’t ring out at decibels causing injury.
United is not being sued in the case. Damages are not specified. Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did the attorney for Sodrok and Sanders. United also could be immediately reached for comment.
The lawsuit is making an accusation about a single ear-splitting snafu, but most flights happen without incident.
In fact, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics released numbers last month saying U.S. carriers flew an estimated 75.8 million passengers in September, up roughly 11% from September 2017. The agency said the estimated figures would be a seasonally-adjusted all-time high, as well as the eighth straight monthly increase.
But onboard problems can also occur with all that air traffic.
Recently, one Southwest Airlines passenger was arrested for groping a woman and allegedly tried justifying it by invoking President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, a Ryanair passenger erupted in a racist rant.
And in April 2017, a 69-year-old doctor was infamously dragged up the aisle of an overbooked flight, his face bloodied. Videos of Dr. David Dao’s forcible removal went viral and he later reached an undisclosed settlement with United over the fiasco.
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