Plane Airbag Explodes, Injuring 4-Year-Old (Photos)

| by Sean Kelly
Daisy James after being burned by a plane's airbag when it explodedDaisy James after being burned by a plane's airbag when it exploded

A 4-year-old girl was severely injured after a plane airbag exploded in her face during a flight from Washington, D.C., to London, England. Four years later, the family has finally reached a settlement with the airline.

Daisy James, who is now 8 years old, boarded a Virgin Airlines flight in May 2012 after a family visit to the U.S. with her grandmother, the Daily Mirror reports.

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

"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."

The vacation was ultimately ruined when Daisy was on her way home to London. The girl reportedly went to fasten her seatbelt when an airbag within the belt suddenly exploded in her face.

Daisy suffered severe burns and cuts to her face, chest, left arm and thigh, as well as swelling in her face that left her unable to speak.

"Her left arm was in a sling and her face was bright red and sore," James said. "She couldn't talk due to the swelling."

"Daisy was in shock. She didn't know what was going on. She seemed to be in a lot of pain and not really with it. My mum doesn't like to talk about what happened. She's heartbroken. She said that when the explosion happened she grabbed Daisy and ran, and my mum has sticks so she can't even walk well."

Once off the plane, Daisy was taken to the paramedics and treated for her burns. At the hospital, she was given an X-ray and examined. The scarring, doctors said, would fade within two years.

The injuries, however, were more than just physical.

"Psychologically, she's really struggling," Gillian said. "When she talks about life, this incident is the first thing she talks about. Before, Daisy didn't know what an accident was.

"Since, she says, 'Well if it happened then, it could happen again.' Not a day goes by that she doesn't mention it."

The family was recently given an undisclosed five-figure settlement by Virgin Airlines after the incident occurred.

"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," aviation lawyer Nicola Southwell, who represents the family, said.

"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 Airlines spokeswoman also responded to the incident.

"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," the spokeswoman said "We have investigated the incident thoroughly and can confirm that it was an extremely unusual and isolated incident."

In a similar incident on a flight from Denver, Colorado, to Billings, Montana, a baby was flung from its mother's arms when the plane hit severe turbulence shortly before landing, ABC News reported in 2014.

Sources: Daily Mirror, ABC News / Photo credit: PA Real Life via Daily Mirror

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