Bodily harm was not at all what Jean Barnard was expecting when she boarded a plane in Alice Springs bound for Darwin. According to the New Zealand Herald, she was on a trip from the US visiting Australia and New Zealand. But her journey took a turn for the worst when a 3-year-old boy, sitting across the aisle from her, let out a scream so loud that blood erupted from her ears. She was then taken off the plane and brought to an Alice Springs hospital.
Barnard has since been in a legal battle with Qantas for over a year, claiming she suffered permanent injuries including sudden sensio-neural hearing loss. Her legal team says that Qantas staff failed “to take all the necessary precautions to prevent the accident that resulted” in her “injury.”
According to the NZ Herald, Qantas claims that Ms. Barnard already had a hearing problem before boarding the plane. They also state,
Plaintiff’s injuries, if any, were caused by the arbitrary and volitional act of a three-year-old child. Flight attendants cannot predict when children aboard an aircraft are about to scream. There is no evidence that the child was screaming in the terminal, or on board the aircraft prior to the particular scream which allegedly caused the damage.
An agreement has since been met, although it is not clear if any payment is involved. “There is a confidential settlement and we can’t make any comment,” Qantas’s senior executive vice-president for The Americas, Wally Mariani, was quoted as saying in the NZ Herald.
[Image: mdanys / Flickr]