Lufthansa Ordered to Pay $2.7 Million in Air Sickness Case
FREIDA RATLIFF FRISARO
Feb. 28, 1996
MIAMI (AP) _ When Leonard Krys began suffering classic symptoms of a heart attack just 1 1/2 hours into a Lufthansa flight, the airline put his life in jeopardy by continuing its to fly from Miami to Germany, a judge has ruled.
For taking that risk, the Frankfurt, Germany-based Lufthansa has been ordered to pay $2.7 million in damages to Krys, who survived the heart attack.
The airline is appealing the Feb. 4 ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge Linnea R. Johnson and refused comment on the case Tuesday, said Charles Croce, director of corporate communications for Lufthansa in New York.
The Krys family on Tuesday announced the judge's ruling.
``Part of my anger is that the airlines maintains it's not their responsibility,'' said Alex Krys, son of the victim. ``They say it was my father's responsibility to tell them to land the plane. My father was fighting for his life.''
Leonard Krys was an apparently healthy 47-year-old when he left Miami for a business trip to Frankfurt, said Krys' attorney, Tod Aronovitz.
Somewhere off the coast of Georgia, Krys began experiencing the classic symptoms of a heart attack _ including chest pain, profuse sweating, an ashen-gray skin coloring, 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.
In making her ruling, Johnson said Leonard Krys' life expectancy has been significantly reduced due to Lufthansa's negligence. The heart attack caused significant damage to the anterior chamber heart wall.
``Leonard Krys sustained significant permanent injury as a direct result of the failure on the part of Lufthansa's flight captain in failing to land the aircraft at an available airport so that passenger Leonard Krys could receive needed thrombolytic care,'' the judge wrote.
Alex Krys said his father, who lives in South Florida, is doing well, but must carefully monitor his health.
The elder Krys said in a release Tuesday 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.