Boeing Targeted in Lawsuits Over Asiana Airlines Accident

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By: Irvin Jackson | Published: August 16th, 2013

Lawsuits continue to be filed as a result of the San Francisco plane accident involving Asiana Flight 214, and many of the latest complaints are targeting the airplane’s manufacturer, Boeing, alleging that the company failed to improve the aircraft after a similar runway crash in 2009.

At least four San Francisco area families have filed aviation accident lawsuits in recent weeks against Asiana Airlines and Boeing over the July 6 crash landing, which left three dead and nearly 200 passengers injured. A number of other lawsuits have been filed targeting just the airline.

Preliminary reports from investigators have suggested that the Asiana Airlines plane was flying too slow and at too low an altitude to clear a sea wall at the end of the runway, which juts out into the water. The flight crew reportedly tried to abort the landing and circle around again, but the tail of the plane clipped the sea wall and was torn off, sending the plane skidding across the runway.

Reports also indicate that this flight was the pilot’s first time flying a Boeing 777 and the flight crew included an instructor. Investigators have found no signs of mechanical failure, but caution that it is far too early to determine with any certainty what caused the crash.

But the new lawsuits, involving at least 12 plaintiffs from the Bay area, also allege that Boeing was partly responsible for the crash, because it failed to upgrade the Boeing 777 following a 2009 crash that occurred under similar circumstances with the Boeing 737s. Boeing has also trained Asiana pilots since 2006 specifically in operating their planes.

A Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800 crash landed in 2009 under very similar circumstances, the lawsuits claim. As a result about 400 Boeing 737s had a voice warning added that alerts pilots by saying “Low Airspeed, Low Airspeed” when the plane is coming in too slow. The lawsuits say the same safety feature may have saved Asiana Flight 214 from crashing.

The three deaths in the latest accident include one passenger that died at the time of the crash, another who died of later injuries, and one Chinese teenage girl who was run over by a fire truck that did not see her because she was covered in firefighting foam.

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