Thomas Cook air steward gets six figure pay-out after horror flight

Air hostess Eden Garrity, 27.
-Credit: (Image: SWNS)


An air hostess has been awarded a six-figure pay-out after suffering a broken leg in severe turbulence.

Eden Garrity, 31, was serving passengers when the aircraft, destined for Manchester from Cuba, hit a violent hail storm over the Atlantic, causing extreme turbulence.

The force of the incident catapulted the plane upwards by 500ft, slamming Eden to the cabin floor and shattering her ankle in seven places.

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Following the traumatic event, Eden faced two months without the ability to walk and endured multiple surgeries along with intensive rehabilitation.

The nerve damage sustained means enduring pain while standing, dashing her hopes of ever working as cabin crew again. Despite the financial relief the pay-out provides, Eden said it cannot compensate for the loss of her passion. She said: "It has left me bitter, I'm resentful for it. It's just frustrating. It was the best job in the world and I feel like I've lost a piece of my personality.

"You see people you're friends with and they're travelling in the skies and I'm not, I'm forever ground grounded. I'll never be able to fly for work again.

"I feel lost, I've got a family and a son and it is great, but I'm very restricted in terms of what I can do. I miss making memories, seeing different countries. If not for the accident I'd have been able to fly in the future and it's horrible."

"I appreciate the pay-out but it doesn't bring back what I've lost. It helps in terms of getting my own property, but I'm 31 and I have the rest of my life ahead of me and I can't do what I want to do."

Air hostess Eden Garrity, 27 after she broke her ankle and leg after turbulence on a plane.
Air hostess Eden Garrity, 27 after she broke her ankle and leg after turbulence on a plane. -Credit:SWNS

Eden, from Leigh, Greater Manchester, was left lying on the plane floor for an hour while seats were cleared following the turbulence.

She was laid across the back row of the plane in agony and was rushed to hospital as soon as they landed in Manchester - seven hours later.

Doctors said the impact of the plane floor was 'like a sledgehammer' hitting her foot. She had broken her fibula in five places, her tibia once, fractured the side of her foot and cracked her ankle bone.

Eden Garrity, 27, was pushing a catering trolley on board a Thomas Cook flight from Cuba to Manchester when the plane met a mid-Atlantic storm. The plane shot up 500ft, pinning Eden to the ground and snapping her ankle.
Eden Garrity, 27, was pushing a catering trolley on board a Thomas Cook flight from Cuba to Manchester when the plane met a mid-Atlantic storm. The plane shot up 500ft, pinning Eden to the ground and snapping her ankle. -Credit:SWNS

A devastated Eden required surgery to insert screws and metal plates inside her leg, as well as a large external metal brace, and she couldn't walk for two months.

The aircraft had taken a detour of around 100 miles to avoid adverse weather conditions as it crossed the Atlantic in August 2019. But Eden says she and other crew members were not informed about the risk of turbulence either during the journey or at the pre-flight staff briefing.

She said: "Usually if we're going to have some turbulence on the flight, they'll tell us before the flight and let us know what the plans are."

"For example, they might say 'we're going to put the seatbelt signs on' or 'we're not going to release you'. The doctor said it was like a sledgehammer hitting the bottom of my foot.

Injuries to Air hostess Eden Garrity, 27 after she broke her ankle and leg after turbulence on a plane.
Injuries to Air hostess Eden Garrity, 27 after she broke her ankle and leg after turbulence on a plane. -Credit:SWNS

"Six passengers lifted me up and over to lay me across three seats at the back of the plane and the ambulance was waiting at the airport for me."

Eden said she wasn't particularly academic when growing up but had found her passion in flying. She added: "When the opportunity to become an air hostess came my way, I felt like I had found my path in life.

"I absolutely loved my job, and I knew I had found my calling, so to speak. So to suffer from injuries that were so severe that I literally couldn't return after the incident has been utterly heartbreaking. I suffered from depression and was diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety."

Lawyers from Thompsons Solicitors argued staff should have been made aware the flight would encounter poor flying weather and additional precautions should have been put in place.

Eden Garrity, 31.
Eden Garrity, 31. -Credit:SWNS

While Thomas Cook's insurers denied responsibility for her injuries, Eden has received an undisclosed compensation care package worth six figures.

Injury law expert Neil Richards, who represented Eden, said: "The circumstances surrounding the incident in which Miss Garrity sustained her injuries should have been foreseen."

"The issue of inflight safety, especially when working in certain geographical regions including the Caribbean, carries a known health and safety risk.

"Turbulence also represents an obvious and serious danger to all those onboard, and especially to airline staff who are required to work in and around the cabin in such environments. Unite legal director Stephen Pinder said: "I am pleased with the result achieved for our member and their family.

"Unite will be taking the lessons learned during this case back into our industrial work to help ensure other airline staff are protected from similar incidents."

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