Asiana Airlines said Wednesday it was scrapping plans to sue a Bay Area TV station for airing bogus pilot names, as the company itself faced mounting legal claims with two passengers filing a federal lawsuit faulting Asiana Flight 214’s crew for the plane’s crash-landing earlier this month.
The airline said this week that it had hired counsel and intended to sue KTVU for broadcasting phony, racially charged names for the flight’s four pilots, calling them derogatory. But the company said Wednesday that it had decided against legal action, based on its “determination to keep all of its resources dedicated to caring for the passengers and family members of Asiana flight 214 and supporting the investigation into the cause of the accident.”
The airline’s decision came as attorneys representing some of the 291 passengers aboard the flight began legal proceedings against Asiana and others.
Younga Jun Machorro and her son, 8-year-old Benjamin Hyo-Ik Machorro, filed suit against the airline in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Monday, faulting a “litany of errors and omissions” by Asiana’s flight crew for the crash that killed three and injured scores of others.
Asiana’s pilots “failed to observe the most fundamental procedures for a visual landing approach into SFO, failed to appropriately monitor flight conditions on approach, and failed to communicate and react in the cockpit to those flight conditions,” attorneys wrote in the suit, which seeks at least $5 million in damages. Also named in the suit is the boy’s father, who was not on the flight but is alleging “loss of consortium” due to his wife’s injuries.
Michael Verna, the family’s attorney, said the crash indicated a problem in training and supervision. The pilots’ failure to realize the plane was far below target speed for landing “goes beyond one person making an error; that goes to a culture of how a crew communicates with one another inside the cockpit,” he said.
Younga, 41, had taken her son to visit relatives in her native Korea and was returning home when the plane crashed, Verna said. She and her son were seated in 15E and 15G when the aircraft hit a sea wall and tore across the runway, the impact shearing off the tail.
She does not remember getting off the plane — her first memory is of clutching her son on the tarmac, Verna said.
The mother and son were treated for neck and back pain with possible ligament or tendon injuries. Neither suffered fractures. Younga is unable to sit, stand or drive because of the pain, and has been unable to return to her job as a language instructor for the military, the attorney said.
The Machorros’ suit comes on top of legal papers filed by a Chicago law firm on behalf of 30 passengers, seeking evidence from Boeing about the design and manufacture of the 777 aircraft. Attorneys at Ribbeck Law Chartered said they have been retained by more than 80 passengers and that they were planning to sue Boeing, Asiana and other parts manufacturers in coming weeks.