Hong Kong courts

Cathay Pacific’s first female captain sues airline over 2015 emergency landing in Alaska

In a writ, Annabelle Cochrane-Lorentsson accuses airline of causing accident by its negligence and breach of duty

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 July, 2018, 7:08pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 9:32am

Cathay Pacific’s first female captain has sued the airline three years after she was reportedly injured during a flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in Alaska when smoke was detected on board.

Passengers had previously recounted scenes of frightened people crying and cabin crew rushing around when the Los Angeles-bound Boeing 777-300 dramatically changed course on July 29, 2015.

On Tuesday, crew member Annabelle Cochrane-Lorentsson accused the airline of causing the accident by its negligence and breach of duty. She also accused it of breach of employment contract.

The writ she filed to the High Court did not detail the “personal injury, loss and damage” she sustained, for which she is now claiming an unspecified sum of damages together with interest and costs.

The first hearing is scheduled on January 8 next year.

‘Something’s not right on this flight’: Passenger captures panic on Cathay plane

Cochrane-Lorentsson joined Cathay in 1998 and became the airline’s first woman captain in 2007.

The Post previously reported that 18 crew members and 276 passengers were on board her Cathay flight CX884 when a cooling fan created smoke and forced the plane to make a “precautionary diversion” to a US military base on a remote island in Alaska.

Genevieve Cousineau, a 25-year-old teacher on board, described the incident as “the most terrifying moment of my life”.

Another passenger, Bruce Kirch, recounted: “Everybody was running around, putting soda bottles away, closing everything in a most urgent fashion. Something was definitely amiss.”

Lost licence cost me HK$2.6 million in wages, pilot tells court

Cathay later arranged for another flight to fly the passengers to Los Angeles and said they would each receive a cash card worth US$300 (HK$2,325) as the airline apologised for the inconvenience caused by the emergency landing.

In a tweet at the time, the company explained that a “preliminary inspection indicates that an equipment cooling fan below the cabin floor near the cargo compartment had failed”, so there was smoke in the cockpit, and the captain decided to make an emergency landing.

The plane had been in service for five years.