Une enfant britannique de 4 ans a été sérieusement blessée, par l’explosion de l’airbag de sa ceinture de sécurité, à bord d’un avion de la compagnie Virgin Atlantic.
Le coussin gonflable a violemment heurté le visage de l’enfant qui a été profondément marqué, ainsi que le torse et le bras gauche. Daisy James a voyagé dans cet état jusqu’à destination, malgré la souffrance, et a été immédiatement admise dans un hôpital dès son arrivée à Londres. Son visage avait pratiquement quadruplé de volume.
La compagnie aérienne a reconnu sa responsabilité et a dédommagé la famille d’un montant à 5 chiffres qui n’a pas été communiqué. La date de cet incident n’a pas été communiquée, toujours est-il que Daisy va beaucoup mieux aujourd’hui et ressemble à une petite fille normale.
Girl, Four, Suffers « Horrendous » Burns After Seatbelt Explodes During Flight
Daisy James suffered burns to her face, chest and arm after a plane airbag exploded in her face.
A four-year-old girl was left with devastating injuries to her face after an aeroplane airbag exploded in her face.
Daisy James, from Gloucestershire in the UK, had been fastening her seatbelt on the Virgin Atlantic flight from Dulles Airport in Washington to London Heathrow when an airbag secured within the belt she was wearing mistakenly deployed.
She suffered hideous burns to her face, causing it to swell to three times its normal size, as well as her chest, arms and thigh.
Many airlines including Virgin, Emirates, United Airlines and Iberia have airbags built into the seat belts designed to lessen the impact of crashes with minor injuries.
Following treatment Daisy has struggled to eat and drink and suffers terrible nightmares.
Her furious family sought legal help and, nearly four years on from the dreadful incident, have now received an undisclosed five-figure settlement from Virgin.
Mum Gillian, 38, said: « I’m still so angry at what happened. »
Daisy was returning from a holiday with her grandmother Sally Dyer, 67, in May 2012 when her seatbelt exploded.
Gillian explained: « So that my husband, Nik, 42, and I, could go to work, Daisy’s gran offered to take her to America. »
« While they were away they visited zoos, went to the beach and did girlie things. »
« They rang while they were away to talk about what they’d been up to, and her gran helped put together a journal for her to remember the trip, with leaflets from the places they’d visited and photos. »
But the holiday of a lifetime was ruined when Daisy, now eight, suffered a terrifying ordeal on the way home.
Gillian continued: « The first I knew Daisy had been injured is when I got a call from my mum to say Daisy had a graze to her face. »
« I was prepared for a graze. But her face was swollen three times its normal size. »
« It was absolutely horrendous. »
« Her left arm was in a sling and her face was bright red and sore. She couldn’t talk due to the swelling. »
« Daisy was in shock. She didn’t know what was going on. She seemed to be in a lot of pain and not really with it. »
« My mum doesn’t like to talk about what happened. She’s heartbroken. »
« She said that when the explosion happened she grabbed Daisy and ran, and my mum has sticks so she can’t even walk well. »
When the pair arrived back in the UK Gillian was horrified when she saw her daughter and rushed her to the Virgin desk where paramedics were called to treat her.
At Cheltenham Hospital in Gloucestershire the youngster was X-rayed and given morphine before being transferred to Frenchay Hospital, in Bristol.
There a specialist investigated whether her skin was young enough to heal properly, concluding the scarring would heal and fade within two years.
She was then pumped with painkillers and taken to see a child psychologist.
She remained in hospital overnight and was sent home the next day.
Gillian recalled: « Her arm was wrapped up for a week. Her face had to stay open to heal. »
« From there, Daisy struggled to eat and drink. »
« We tried to feed her yoghurt through a straw and she screamed. »
« She also suffered nightmares for months. She still doesn’t sleep well. »
« She slept in with me and her dad for the first eight months, and is now in with her brother, Jack, who is five. »
« Psychologically, she’s really struggling. »
« When she talks about life, this incident is the first thing she talks about. »
« Before, Daisy didn’t know what an accident was. »
« Since, she says, ‘Well if it happened then, it could happen again’. »
« Not a day goes by that she doesn’t mention it. »
Gillian explained they sought legal help as they believed it was important to find out why this had happened to their daughter and to prevent other families from going through a similar experience.
She said: « I hope airlines and the manufacturer can prevent this from happening again. »
Virgin Airlines, who apologised to the family, admitted liability for proven loss within the ambit of Article 17.1 of the Montreal Convention 1999.
This makes the carrier — in this case Virgin Airlines — liable if a passenger is injured in an accident which happens on board the aircraft or in the course of embarking or disembarking.
Nicola Southwell, an expert aviation lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who represented the James’ family, said: « This incident has had a huge impact on a very young child, not only physically in terms of the injuries Daisy suffered, but also psychologically, as it had an significant impact on Daisy’s day-to-day life.
« Daisy’s trip to America with her grandmother was supposed to be memorable for all the right reasons, but the family have been left with terrible memories of the holiday. »
« While safety measures are, of course, absolutely crucial on flights, it is clear these airbags can cause serious injury if they activate during normal use of the seatbelt. »
« We are delighted to have secured a settlement for Daisy and her family that will ensure she continues to get the help she needs to overcome the psychological impact this incident had on her and enable her to begin to put it behind her. »
A Virgin spokeswoman said: « We have expressed our sincere apologies to the family and while it doesn’t lessen the impact of what happened, we have reached a settlement to the family’s satisfaction. »
« We have investigated the incident thoroughly and can confirm that it was an extremely unusual and isolated incident. »