The relatives of a BA pilot who died in 2012 after reportedly suffering from the ill effects of aerotoxicity are taking legal action against the carrier. The family of Richard Westgate – plus 93 other claimants – are suing BA as part of an action that could have a major impact within the industry.
The family of a British Airways (BA) pilot who died in 2012 after reportedly suffering ill effects from toxic fumes from within the cabin is taking legal action against the carrier, the London Evening Standard reports.
Richard Westgate was found dead in a hotel room in the Netherlands after overdosing on sleeping pills. His family say that he had allegedly taken these to combat chronic pain caused by long-term exposure to an array of dangerous cabin fumes, a condition known as aerotoxicity.
This phenomenon is believed to occur when the air within the cabin becomes tainted with chemicals and fluids from a plane’s engine. It is supposed that regular exposure to this air is a possible cause of brain and nerve damage.
Westgate’s family, who are seeking £500,000 ($652,712) in compensation, aren’t the only claimants to have lodged a suit against BA, the outlet reports. 93 other claims – all from additional BA crew members – have been presented to the High Court in London.
Speaking on behalf of Westgate’s family, Michael Rawlinson Queen’s Counsel (QC), was quoted by the outlet as saying that the suit could be “potentially huge for airlines”.
However, the legal representative for BA, David Platt (QC), issued a rebuttal against these allegations, saying, “This litigation must be viewed as weak and speculative.”
It has been ruled that as many as eight of these 93 cases will be heard in court as part of a wider trial.
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