Crash survivors seek compensation

MITRA Gopaul has trouble sleeping. Eddie Ho has repeated flashbacks. And some children are still clinging to their parents more than a week after surviving the Air France crash on the runway of Canada’s busiest airport.

Air France, they say, has not done enough to compensate or reassure them.

They are considering joining a class-action lawsuit filed last week in Ontario Superior Court, which seeks $269 million in damages for trauma, any future medical expenses and loss of property and earnings.

“The first week, I was plagued by nightmares, difficulty in sleeping, loss of appetite and constant flashbacks,” said Ho, a 19-year-old business student from South Africa who says he’s uncomfortable with the lawsuit, but feels compelled to join.

“People say, ‘You’re going to get tons of money,’ but I don’t see it that way. It’s such a pain and I want my old life back. I wish it had never happened, I really do. It’s uncontrollable and it’s a psychological disaster.”

All 309 passenger and crew survived when the plane skid some 200 yards off the end of the runway and slammed into a ravine.

About 50 passengers and their relatives attended a meeting called by Toronto lawyers on Wednesday.

The lawyers have enlisted the help of Mary Schiavo, a former inspector general for the US Department of Transportation and strong critic of air safety. She has represented many air crash survivors, including families currently suing the US airliners involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Some money has already been paid out, ranging from $1,000 to $3,500.

More in this section

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox