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Saturday 3 December 2016

I thought that 'we were all dead', flight attendant suing Aer Lingus tells court

Cassandra Reddin at court
Cassandra Reddin at court

A flight attendant believed "we were all dead" when an aircraft allegedly bounced three times as it landed, the High Court heard.

Aer Lingus cabin crew member Cassandra Reddin was on a flight from Malaga to Dublin when the alleged heavy landing occurred.

Ms Reddin (33), Woodlands Manor, Ratoath, Co Meath, said passengers were screaming, bottles in overhead baggage smashed and alcohol poured out.

Ms Reddin is suing Aer Lingus, claiming she suffered back and neck injuries when the plane, it is claimed, landed in a heavy, dramatic fashion with an alleged inappropriate and excessive rate of descent.

Opening her case, Finbar Fox SC said the downward force generated during the landing was consistent with a wholly inappropriate and excessive rate of descent.

"There was a degree of chaos and stress on board," counsel said, adding the "simple option" would have been for the pilot to go around and try to land again.

It was claimed that with one second before touchdown, the rate of descent was three to four times what it should have been.

Ms Reddin claims she was injured when EI582 from Malaga to Dublin landed on November 19, 2009. She claims she suffered soft tissue neck and back injuries and whiplash. She says afterwards she suffered nightmares and woke up screaming.

Bumpy

Aer Lingus has denied all the claims.

Ms Reddin told the court the cabin crew were instructed to secure the cabin for landing at 30 minutes before landing instead of ten. She was sitting in one of the cabin crew seats, adding: "It got very bumpy and the plane was swaying from side to side. I was very frightened."

She said the landing gear was down and the plane was rocking from side to side, insisting: "The plane bounced off the runway three times. Passengers were screaming and we could hear glass smashing and alcohol was pouring on the passengers."

She told everybody to sit down but her voice was shaking and a passenger told her she was not very reassuring.

She said she thought the plane was not going to stop and would be off the runway.

"I thought we were all dead, that the plane was not going to stop. I was shaking," she said.

Ms Reddin said after they landed the senior cabin person instructed her "not to mention what happened on the bus back to the terminal, because the co -pilot was mortified".

She said she cried the whole evening at home afterwards and she was in shock. The next day she could not move her neck and later suffered panic attacks. She now works in the social media section of Aer Lingus.

The case before Mr Justice Michael Hanna continues.

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