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Saturday, June 15, 2024 | Back issues
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Worker Says Jet Blast Broke His Neck

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - An airport worker says his neck was broken when "jet blast" from a UPS Boeing 747 flipped his 10,000-pound van on its side, hurling the van and its passengers into a massive piece of machinery at the poorly designed Philadelphia airport.

Gary Devaco and his wife sued United Parcel Service and the City of Philadelphia in the Court of Common Pleas.

Devaco says a UPS plane was being parked on a rainy morning in December 2007 when something went horribly wrong. He was working for Air Transport International, or ATI, which is not a party to the complaint.

"As the engines were powered up in the attempt to move the plane uphill, a stream of jet blast was generated and lifted the ATI truck off the ground, flipped it violently on its side, and pushed it several feet until it crashed into a multi-ton K Loader machine tumbling Devaco and [fellow ATI employee] Waldron inside the van," according to the complaint.

Devaco says the City of Philadelphia "was acutely aware" that it had designed the tarmac with a dangerous configuration, and that UPS' pilots were experiencing "great difficulty" in maneuvering planes to "overcome the resistance and friction created" by a "flawed, hazardous, and dangerous City designed sloped, elevated, and graded tarmac and water drainage system."

Consequently, he says, the UPS terminal area was exposed to the aircrafts' jet blast streams.

In addition to the broken neck, Devaco says the accident caused large disc fragments to become lodged in his spine, and caused a "mood disorder due to brain injury."

He and his wife demand damages for negligence and loss of consortium.

They are represented by Robert Doig with Doig and Doig of Media, Pa.

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