DENVER (CBS4) – A passenger on United Airlines Flight 328 has filed a class action lawsuit against the airline, claiming he suffered severe emotional distress after one of the 777’s engines broke apart over Broomfield on Feb. 20. The lawsuit accuses United of failing to properly inspect and maintain its aircraft.
The flight left Denver International Airport for Honolulu, but turned around and landed at DIA.READ MORE: United Airlines Flight 328 Passenger: Plane 'Was Shuddering' After Explosion
The pilot radioed to Air Traffic Control, “May day, may day. Return requested.” He then steered the Boeing 777 back to DIA landing safely.
For those on board, it was a terrifying experience. Bob Brown, a passenger who shot video of the engine on fire told CBS4 that day, “We looked at each mother my wife and I held hands and wished that we would see our kids again.”
Parts of the engine rained down on Broomfield as the plane attempted to return to DIA.
Dan Smith of Portland Oregon remarked, “Initially there was panic, but I think people did a good job of calming down.”
The passenger behind the lawsuit, Chad Schnell, is from Indiana.
“…one of two engines on this plane spectacularly failed, scattering pieces of the engine over Colorado and leaving passengers to a horrifying view of a fire on the wing,” the lawsuit states.READ MORE: United Airlines Flight 328 Update: Exam Finds Multiple Cracks In Part Of Jet's Engine
“The 231 passengers on board UA328 were lucky to escape with their lives, as the flight managed to land with no serious physical injuries; however, it left these passengers in fear for their life for nearly 20 minutes,” the lawsuit states. “Nearly all of them experienced the emotional distress that would be a natural human emotional response to a near-death experience.”
Jonathan Corbett, Schnells’ attorney, told CBS4, “It is just the way that these planes age and United’s failure to account for that caused these travelers to have to deal with 18 minutes of whether they were going to live or die.”
The lawsuit suggests the amount United should pay in damages should be determined by a jury, but estimated “the total amount in controversy is likely to exceed $5,000,000.”
The lawsuit notes the passengers were eventually put on another plane. That plane, it says had a very similar problem in 2018.
The lawsuit states passengers are suffering mentally.
“Common things are flashback scenarios, nightmares, general fear,” Corbett said.
United Airlines released the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
“We remain proud of the ability of our employees to safely get our UA328 customers back to the airport and ultimately on to their destination later that same day. Safety remains our highest priority – for our employees and our customers. Given the ongoing federal investigation, we will not comment further on this lawsuit at this time.”