A group of L.A. school teachers is suing Delta Airlines following an incident in which a pilot dumped fuel over the school where they were supervising kids who were out playing, NBC News reports. The teachers say the incident caused the kids to panic and scream.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr last week, a Delta flight bound from LAX to Shanghai experienced an engine issue shortly after takeoff and had to turn around. As is customary with unscheduled landings, the pilot dumped the craft’s fuel in order to reduce its landing weight.
Normally, such fuel dumps are done at high altitudes — and/or over unpopulated areas — where the fuel atomizes into the atmosphere rather than falls to the ground. However, in emergencies, the pilot can dump the fuel at a low altitude and/or over a populated area.
In the case of last week’s Delta flight, the pilot dumped the fuel at a low altitude, estimated to be at about 2,000 feet, and over the densely populated Los Angeles metro area. Specifically, the fuel dump occurred over Park Avenue Elementary School, where dozens of children were outside playing, and a handful of adults were supervising them.
The fuel fell onto the playground, and several kids and adults reported having breathing and skin issues.
Several of the schoolteachers who were on duty during the incident have now sued Delta Airlines, alleging among other things that the airline was negligent in even allowing the plane to get off the ground in the first place.
As the fuel fell onto the playground where the kids were playing that day, the teachers say that the children initially thought they were being rained on. When they looked up to the sky, jet fuel fell into their eyes and noses, and onto their skin.
“I immediately began to rush my students indoors, as the fumes were stifling. Students began screaming and crying because their eyes and skin were burning. Fear, dread, panic, and helplessness ensued,” one teacher stated, according to the lawsuit.
Although none of the injured children or adults were treated in hospitals at the time, one teacher did go to urgent care the next day, after her pain and nausea did not subside.
“I am scared of what can happen to my health and the health of my students, my friends and my colleagues,” she said.
The teachers are suing for emotional anguish and distress, and accuse the pilot of failing to follow protocol.