MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A group of American Airlines passengers are suing the company after a plane they were on caught fire right before it took off from Chicago to Miami.READ MORE: Federal Government's N95 Masks Distribution Starts Monday
“People were terrified. People were climbing over seats. People were just trying to get out because they were afraid that this thing could blow before they could make it out of there,” said Alexandra Wisner.
Wisner is the attorney representing 18 of the passengers who are not only suing American Airlines, but have also included Boeing – who made the plane – and G.E. – the manufacture of the plane’s engine – in their lawsuit.
But it’s the allegations against American that have some in the airline industry paying attention.
Wisner says her clients describe chaos when the fire started.
Some passengers saying there wasn’t enough instruction from flight attendants.
They also said not all of emergency evacuation slides were deployed – and when one was deployed, it was at an angle that had to be straightened out.READ MORE: Mark Rosenberg Acknowledges He Resigned As FIU President Because ‘I Caused Discomfort For A Valued Employee’
“They (flight attendants) just weren’t giving direction on how to handle it, how to get out,” Wisner said. “And because of that, it resulted in even more stress on them, even more trauma psychological, specifically, because they were so terrified of whether or not they were going to make it out in time.”
Wisner says warning passengers about sitting in an exit seat in case of an emergency is not enough to get airlines out of liability.
“The air carrier cannot shift responsibility onto the passenger by saying while you’re sitting next to an emergency exit door now it’s on you,” Wisner said. “It’s still on the air carrier to make sure that in the event of an emergency that everyone safely and orderly exits the aircraft.
American Airlines released a statement, which read:
“We’re proud of our pilots, flight attendants and other team members who responded quickly to take care of our customers under very challenging circumstances. American is actively participating in the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation…”
The lawsuit was filed in Illinois, which does not require it to list how much money the passengers are asking for.
Wisner says although there were no serious physical injuries, mentally her clients will suffer for a long time.MORE NEWS: Mural Honoring Gloria & Emilio Estefan Unveiled In Little Havana
“When you speak to these people you can see it still affects them,” Wisner said. “They’re crying, they’re noticeably upset, they’re still reliving it. It’s not over yet for them by any means.”