Wednesday, March 16

See How a Girl's Face Was Left Battered After Plane Airbag Exploded in Her Face During Flight (Photos)

See How a Girl's Face Was Left Battered After Plane Airbag Exploded in Her Face During Flight (Photos)

Daisy James

A little girl's face was badly burned when the airbag attached to her plane seat exploded in her face during air flight.

The four-year-old girl, Daisy James, suffered devastating injuries after the plane airbag exploded in her face on a flight to London.

Little Daisy went to fasten her seatbelt on the plane to Heathrow Airport after getting onboard at an airport near Washington DC, America.

But moments later, an airbag secured within the belt mistakenly deployed, leaving her with shocking burns to her face, chest and thigh.

The youngster, who was travelling with her grandmother, was also left unable to speak after her face swelled up to 'three times its normal size'.

Now, Daisy, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, has received an undisclosed five-figure settlement from Virgin Airlines following the terrifying incident.

Today, the little girl's mother, Gillian James, 37, told how her daughter flew home after suffering the injuries on the flight from Dulles Airport.

When she arrived back in the UK hours later, Daisy was taken for treatment, but she continued to struggle to eat and drink and suffered terrible nightmares.

See How a Girl's Face Was Left Battered After Plane Airbag Exploded in Her Face During Flight (Photos)

Angered by what had happened, the James family sought legal help - and nearly four years on, they have been given the five-figure settlement.

Virgin Airlines, who apologised to the family, admitted liability for proven loss within the ambit of Article 17.1 of the Montreal Convention 1999.

This makes the carrier liable if a passenger is injured in an accident which happens on board the aircraft or in the course of embarking or disembarking.

Mrs James, 37, said: "I couldn't believe it when I saw Daisy come in to the arrivals area at Heathrow. I'm still so angry at what happened."

Mrs James told how Daisy had boarded the Virgin Atlantic Airways flight in May 2012 after visiting family in Washington DC during the school holidays.

At the time, she had been accompanied by her grandmother Sally Dyer, 67,

"So that my husband, Nik, 42, and I, could go to work, Daisy's gran offered to take her to America," said Mrs James, from Leckhampton.

"While they were away they visited zoos, went to the beach and did girly things.

"They rang while they were away to talk about what they'd been up to, and her gran helped put together a journal for her to remember the trip, with leaflets from the places they'd visited and photos."

See How a Girl's Face Was Left Battered After Plane Airbag Exploded in Her Face During Flight (Photos)

Daisy and her mum before the accident

But the holiday of a lifetime ended up being ruined after the now eight-year-old was injured on the way home, sustaining burns and cuts to her face, left arm, chest and thigh.

Days after the accident, Mrs James was advised to seek legal help. Her family began working with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, who investigated what had happened on the plane.

Mrs James said: "We got legal help because we thought it was important to find out what had happened and we didn't want this to happen to any other families.

"I hope airlines and the manufacturer can prevent this from happening again."

Nicola Southwell, an expert aviation lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who represented the James' family, said: "This incident has had a huge impact on a very young child, not only physically in terms of the injuries Daisy suffered, but also psychologically, as it had an significant impact on Daisy's day-to-day life.

"Daisy's trip to America with her grandmother was supposed to be memorable for all the right reasons, but the family have been left with terrible memories of the holiday.

"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.

"We are delighted to have secured a settlement for Daisy and her family that will ensure she continues to get the help she needs to overcome the psychological impact this incident had on her and enable her to begin to put it behind her."

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."

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