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Flight QF30 - did passengers suffer lasting trauma?

It has emerged as a serious possibility that passengers who were aboard Flight QF30, the Qantas jumbo jet that was forced to make an emergency landing in the Philippines after a hole in its fuselage caused it to become depressurised, may make no win, no fee compensation claims against the airline.

Any no win, no fee compensation claims would likely be for psychological injury sustained in the incident rather than any physical passenger injuries suffered in the emergency descent.

Once observer commented that "upon disembarkation, there were some passengers who vomited. You can see in their faces that they were really scared "

One aviation safety expert, Dr David Newman of Flight Medicine Systems, commented on the kinds of problems that might arise of situations like the one QF30 was involved in. "When you've lost pressure, all that high pressure air in the cabin leaves the airplane and from a medical point of view you've got the risk of lack of oxygen - which is compensated for by the oxygen masks," he said.

"The descent is designed to limit how much time you spend up there and of course one of the other issues is that the mass flow of air leaving the airplane - if it's an explosive decompression - will take a lot of loose objects and articles around the cabin and basically try and leave the aircraft via the hole."

If any no win, no fee compensation claims are made regarding the incident, it is likely they will include ones made by children and their families as such near misses can be particularly distressing for children.

While this possibility of claims being made remains, it is by no means certain that the airline would be considered liable for compensation payouts, as many of the affected passengers have praised crew and cabin staff for the way they handled the incident. However, if concrete details of any defect or negligence emerge, some passengers may decide to contact accident compensation solicitors.


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