Family Of Boy Killed When Plane Slid Off Runway Settles Lawsuit Against Southwest Airlines

Monday, April 2nd 2007, 10:07 pm
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ Southwest Airlines Co. has reached a settlement with the family of a 6-year-old boy who was killed when one of the airline's jets skidded off a runway and slammed into a car in which he was riding.

Joshua Woods' parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Southwest and Boeing Co., the plane's manufacturer, in Cook County Circuit Court nearly a year ago. The suit alleged that both companies made mistakes and missteps that led to the Dec. 8, 2005, accident at Midway International Airport.

A spokeswoman for Dallas-based Southwest said Monday that the airline and the Woods family were the only parties to the settlement reached in February. Calls to the family's attorneys and Chicago-based Boeing were not immediately returned Monday evening.

Financial details of the settlement were not released.

``We know we cannot bring Joshua back, and we believe this settlement brings a tragic and difficult situation to a close,'' the airline said in a statement.

Joshua, of Leroy, Ind., was riding in a car with his family when Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 landed in a snowstorm, skidded off Runway 31-C, through an airport blast fence and into traffic.

The lawsuit alleged that Southwest was negligent for errors including failing to properly land the Boeing 737 and attempting to land when deteriorating weather conditions dictated that the plane should have been diverted to another airport.

The family claimed Boeing shared some of the blame because of problems with the plane's thrust reversers, which are used to slow down the aircraft.

Since the accident, the airport has installed a lightweight concrete bed designed to collapse under the weight of an aircraft and stop planes from overshooting the runway.