Lawyers take action against Ryanair after mid-flight plunge

 Lawyers have issued proceedings against Ryanair after one of its flights plunged 20,000 feet due to a loss of cabin pressure, allegedly leaving passengers injured and traumatised.

The Boeing 737-800 was en-route from Milan to East Midlands Airport on April 4, 2012 when it was diverted to Frankfurt following an emergency descent which led to the release of oxygen masks onboard the plane. 

Irwin Mitchell's specialist Aviation Law Team issued a statement which said: "This terrifying descent caused physical and psychological injuries to a number of passengers.

"An interim report has been published by the German aviation authorities, and it reveals that the loss of pressure was caused by issues with the cabin pressure controllers."

Ryanair has already admitted liability under the Montreal Convention for in-flight incident, said the law firm, but as there is a two-year limitation period to bring claims and as other passengers are still coming forward to lodge claims against the airline, it has issued proceedings against Ryanair to protect their rights.

Jim Morris, a former RAF Pilot and Partner in the specialist Aviation Law team, said: "Cabin depressurisation at cruising altitude - normally around 35,000 feet - is a very serious emergency as the air at this altitude is too thin to support life.

"This is the reason that the aircraft has to make a very rapid descent to 10,000 feet, where the air is sufficiently thick to be able to breathe without oxygen masks.  It is the rapid depressurisation and descent that has caused the injuries to passengers, many of whom believed that they were going to plummet to the ground. 

"For the passengers that we represent, we hope to be able to settle their cases against Ryanair fairly, but the short two year limitation period that applies to these kinds of cases means that formal court proceedings have been commenced with the filing of papers prior to 3 April 2014 to protect their rights. 

"In addition, we still have passengers contacting us for the first time almost two years on from the accident.  For these passengers, there is unfortunately a race against time as they have to lodge their claims with the court by 3 April."

Patricia Rocha Bello Bertin, a Brazilian national, was travelling on flight FR1703 with her two children when the incident occurred.

"It was a very frightening experience and we all felt searing ear pain when it happened. I thought that we were going to die. It was the worst feeling in the world, sitting there and not being able to stop what was happening," she said.

"My job role involves a lot of travelling and the night before any flight I cannot sleep and the feelings and fears I had during the incident always come flooding back. It has genuinely made me incredibly afraid to fly."

Irwin Mitchell's specialist Aviation Law team is also representing passengers allegedly affected by cabin smoke/emergency diversion issues on three Thomas Cook flights and one Jet2 flight,  which occurred after the Ryanair depressurisation.