Lufthansa Ordered to Pay $2.7 Million in Air Sickness Case
MIAMI (AP) _ A judge ruled that Lufthansa airlines put a passenger’s life in jeopardy by continuing on a trans-Atlantic flight after he began having a heart attack.
The Frankfurt, Germany-based Lufthansa was ordered to pay $2.7 million in damages to Leonard Krys, who survived the attack but has permanent damage to his heart.
``Part of my anger is that the airline maintains it’s not their responsibility,″ said Alex Krys, the victim’s son. ``They say it was my father’s responsibility to tell them to land the plane. My father was fighting for his life.″
The airline is appealing the Feb. 4 ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge Linnea R. Johnson and refused comment Tuesday, said Charles Croce, director of corporate communications for Lufthansa in New York.
Krys, 47, apparently was healthy when he left Miami for a business trip to Frankfurt on Nov. 30, 1991, said his attorney, Tod Aronovitz. About 1 1/2 hours later, off the coast of Georgia, Krys began having chest pain, sweating profusely and his skin turned ashen-gray, court records show.
``They could have landed anywhere from Atlanta, up the East Coast, all the way to Gander, Newfoundland,″ Aronovitz said. Instead, the non-stop flight continued for another 8 1/2 hours, landing in Frankfort, where Krys was rushed to a hospital.
A flight attendant did give him nitroglycerine and oxygen, according to Aronovitz. Krys also tried walking around when could.
At one point, Krys wanted to lie on the floor, but flight attendants told him that was against airline regulations, Aronovitz said.
In making her ruling, Johnson said Krys’ life expectancy has been significantly reduced due to Lufthansa’s negligence. The heart attack caused significant damage to the anterior chamber heart wall.
The elder Krys, who lives in suburban Miami, said in a statement Tuesday that he hoped Lufthansa would improve safety procedures for in-flight emergencies.
``No one should have to have their life in danger or go through the pain I suffered on that Lufthansa flight,″ he said.