Million Dollar Settlement Reached with Victims of 2008 Continental Airlines Crash

On March 8, the passengers and crew members who suffered through a 2008 Continental Airlines crash at Denver International Airport reached a multi-million-dollar settlement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In December 2008, Continental Flight 1404 was blown off a windy runway during a night takeoff, causing the plane to slide down a ravine and catch fire. Although all 115 people on board the plane managed to escape, six were seriously hurt and dozens more were treated for less traumatic injuries.

The crash was blamed on both pilot error and an unexpectedly strong crosswind. In a 2010 report, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that the pilot failed to make proper rudder adjustments to keep the plane on the runway during the windstorm.

Despite that finding, some passengers and crew members also blamed air traffic controllers for failing to inform pilots of the strong crosswinds gusting up to 40 mph that evening. As a result, they filed this just-settled suit against the FAA.

Bolstering the victims' claim was the fact that the NTSB report did cite air traffic controllers' failure to provide "key, available" information about the wind as a contributing factor to the crash.

While the total amount of money the FAA agreed pay in the settlement has yet to be publicly disclosed, an attorney for the crash victims said they will receive several million dollars. The settlement will compensate these crash victims not just for physical injuries, but for the long term emotional suffering they have experienced in the wake of the accident.

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