Pensioner sues Ryanair claiming she was injured when plane hit turbulence

24 July 2021

A pensioner who claimed she injured her ankle when she was allegedly lifted into the air as a Ryanair flight hit turbulence has sued in the High Court.

Australian Lynette Peucker was given permission by a High Court judge to give her evidence by video link from Australia when the case goes ahead next year after the court heard she has a phobia of flying.

Her counsel Conor E Byrne BL, instructed by Damien Conroy of Augustus Cullen Law, told the court the 72-year-old has post-traumatic stress disorder and a phobia of flying. He said she was willing to give her evidence and be cross-examined by video link from Australia but on Dublin time for the High Court.

The hearing at the start of next year is expected to last four days and counsel said given the woman’s age and her flying phobia it just was not suitable for her to have to travel to give her evidence in person.

Counsel pointed out that since the start of the pandemic courts all over Ireland have been hearing evidence by video link and conducting remote hearings.

Solicitor for Ryanair Peter Lennon said Mrs Peucker should give her evidence in person in the court in the normal way.

Case listed for February 2022

He said the case was listed for February 2022 when it was hoped things in relation to the pandemic would be back to normal.

Lynette Peucker, 72, Jeffrey Court, Gisborne, South Victoria, Australia, has sued Ryanair over the accident on board a Pisa-Brussels flight on September 12, 2015. 

She has claimed that during the course of the flight she walked down the aisle to the rear of the plane to get to the toilet. As she reached the toilet door, it is alleged, she was suddenly without warning lifted off the floor into the air due to turbulence and she landed heavily on her left ankle.

It is further claimed she was thrown into the rear galley where she allegedly hit her head off a metal object.

It is claimed there was an alleged failure to warn her off the impending turbulence.

And it is further alleged the seatbelt sign was turned off and the woman was permitted to freely walk down the aircraft aisle in the circumstances where it was allegedly dangerous to do so.

The pensioner claimed she was in shock after the accident and was treated by the flight attendants, who put ice on her ankle and wrapped it in a bandage and helped elevate it. The woman, who was travelling with her daughter, was transferred to hospital on touchdown in Brussels and she later in Australia had to have surgery to the ankle fracture.

Intense and overwhelming fear

In her proceedings she has alleged it was noted she had suffered an extreme and immediate psychological reaction in the form of intense and overwhelming fear as a result of the accident.

Ryanair has denied all the claims and says if the incident took place it was not caused by any act, default, neglect or omission by the airline. It further contends the woman, an experienced air passenger, failed to account for the possibility of turbulence when moving about the aircraft.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey gave permission to the pensioner to give her evidence by video link and he said medical experts on both sides from Australia could also give their evidence remotely.

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