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Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Twins Say They Choked on Air in SW Jet

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) - Twin sisters sued Southwest Airlines in Federal Court, saying they and other passengers choked on toxic "super-heated" fumes that formed a "mist" in the airplane during flight.

Valerie and Victoria Vaughn say that one hour into their flight from Los Angeles, passengers began having trouble breathing. The pilot told passengers there had been a malfunction, and as he engaged the engines for a steep ascent, "super-heated air" blew out of the ventilation system and a "mist" appeared to hang in the cabin, according to the complaint.

The twins say the toxic fumes were bleed air that was contaminated with hot engine oil when the pilot put the engines on full thrust. The plane made an emergency landing in Albuquerque, and a fire marshal escorted passengers off the plane.

The Vaughns said they suffered pressure in their heads, nausea, rashes, fatigue, uncontrollable tremors, weight loss and central and peripheral nervous system damage that forced them to take medical leave from work.

Valerie Vaughn says she called Southwest's customer service for information to help her doctor with medical treatment, and was told that Southwest Airlines had no record of a problem with the flight.

The twins say Southwest's refusal to identify the toxic fumes to which they were exposed is hindering their medical treatment.They are represented by Bruce J. McKee.

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