Virgin Airlines has paid out a family after a young girl was badly burnt when a seatbelt exploded in her face.
Daisy James, from Gloucestershire, England, was just four at the time of the accident, which occurred on a Virgin flight from Dulles Airport in Washington to London Heathrow.
She was returning from a holiday with her grandmother in May 2012 when the airbag on her seatbelt suddenly deployed, burning her face, chest, arms and thigh.
Many airlines have installed seatbelts with airbags, which are designed to lessen the impact and minimise injuries in the event of a crash.
Daisy’s mother, Gillian James, who was not travelling with the pair, told The Sun she was horrified when she saw the extent of her daughter’s injuries upon landing, and rushed her to the Virgin desk where paramedics were called.
“I was prepared for a graze. But her face was swollen three times its normal size,” she said.
“It was absolutely horrendous. Her left arm was in a sling and her face was bright red and sore. She couldn’t talk due to the swelling.”
Daisy spent a night in hospital, and was taken to see a child psychologist.
“Her arm was wrapped up for a week. Her face had to stay open to heal,” James said.
“From there, Daisy struggled to eat and drink. We tried to feed her yoghurt through a straw and she screamed.
“She also suffered nightmares for months. She still doesn’t sleep well.”
The family sought legal help and four years on, have received an undisclosed five-figure settlement from Virgin, The Sun reported.
Nicola Southwell, an expert aviation lawyer who represented the family, told The Sun: “While safety measures are, of course, absolutely crucial on flights, it is clear these airbags can cause serious injury if they activate during normal use of the seatbelt.”
A Virgin spokeswoman said: “We have expressed our sincere apologies to the family and while it doesn’t lessen the impact of what happened, we have reached a settlement to the family’s satisfaction.
“We have investigated the incident thoroughly and can confirm that it was an extremely unusual and isolated incident.”
This article was originally published on Stuff.co.nz. Read the original article here.
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