Four California teachers are suing Delta Airlines after being doused in fuel during an emergency landing.
On Friday, Gloria Allred, the attorney of the four teachers, announced the four educators from Park Avenue Elementary School filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court claiming negligence. The teachers say pilots for Flight 89 failed to notify air traffic control that they were going to dump fuel, CNN reports. The claim goes on to say that teachers suffered physical harm and severe emotional distress. Two of the teachers told reporters they had to go to the emergency room or urgent care after the fuel got into their mouths and noses.
The flight was coming in from Los Angeles and landing in Shanghai on Tuesday when it began having an engine issue right after takeoff. When it returned to Los Angeles International Airport, it dumped its fuel, which landed on five elementary schools and one high school. Firefighters treated 60 people after the fuel fell on top of them, said inspector Sean Ferguson of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
“I’m scared of what can happen to my health, the health of my students, my friends and my colleagues,” said one of the teachers. The lawsuit seeks damages “in an amount according to proof at trial.” Delta spokesman Anthony Black said the airline has no comment on the incident.
Other teachers are suing Delta because they said they were concerned with making sure students were okay before checking themselves into a hospital that day or next. One teacher said children were screaming and crying because their eyes and skin were burning. Students began looking up to the sky, thinking it was rain falling on them. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident and found that the pilots didn’t ask for approval to dump the fuel. According to CNN, a pilot told an air traffic controller there was a problem with the engine, but it was under control and wanted to return to the airport.
“Had the Delta pilot notified air traffic personnel of the need to dump fuel, the flight would have been directed to a location and altitude from which fuel could be released without danger to the plaintiffs and others,” the lawsuit says. Teachers said the fuel dropped from about 2,000 feet in the air. Federal Aviation Administration said aircrews would usually notify air traffic control of an emergency and report they need to dump fuel. The investigation is ongoing.