LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Teachers with the Los Angeles Unified School District who were impacted by Tuesday’s jet fuel dump have hired celebrity attorney Gloria Allred to file a lawsuit against Delta Airlines.
Allred announced the lawsuit in a news conference late Friday morning.
Just before noon Tuesday, Delta Flight No. 89 bound from L.A. International Airport to Shanghai was forced to turn back and make an emergency landing due to a mechanical issue.
In the process, the jet did an emergency dump of fuel which landed directly on three schools, including Park Elementary Avenue School in Cudahy and San Gabriel Avenue Elementary and Tweedy Elementary in South Gate. About 20 more L.A. Unified School District campuses were also impacted. Dozens of students and teachers got jet fuel on their clothes, face and arms.
“I started yelling for my students to come back inside the building,” one teacher told reporters at Friday’s news conference. “I didn’t know where the smell was coming from. I thought, ‘Oh my God, it must be a terrorist attack.'”
“My students initially thought it was rain and began looking up only to have the noxious liquid overwhelm our eyes, mouth, nose and skin,” another added.
Park Avenue Elementary took the brunt of the fuel hit, with 31 patients treated there. Six were treated at Tweedy and another six at San Gabriel, according to the L.A. County Fire Department.
No one required transport to a hospital. All the impacted schools were open and operating normally Wednesday.
Questions have since arisen after CBS News obtained audio in which the pilots were heard telling LAX air traffic control the plane would not need to dump fuel, which it subsequently did.
According to Delta, the plane began dropping fuel at an elevation of 8,000 feet and continued at least until it hit the 2,300-foot mark. The FAA confirmed to CBS News it also found that the Delta crew did not tell air traffic control the plane needed to dump fuel.
Air crews will typically notify controllers of an emergency and indicate the need to dump fuel. Controllers, in turn, will then direct the plane to an area appropriate for such action.