Former Air Canada pilot alleges Boeing and Airbus planes made him sick

Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:01am PST

Former Air Canada pilot David Bruce Zaharik is suing a raft of aircraft manufacturers and parts makers alleging that, while flying, he was exposed to toxic chemicals that made him so sick that he can no longer fly.

Zaharik filed a lawsuit against Boeing Co., McDonnell Douglas Corp., Airbus S.A.S., Airbus of North America Inc., Rolls-Royce Corp., General Electric Co., Pratt & Whitney Co., Royal Dutch Shell plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on December 14.

The Delta resident claims that he was a:

  • crew member on a DC-9 aircraft between 1986 and 1994;
  • a first officer on a Boeing 767 aircraft between 1996 and 1999;
  • a first officer on an Airbus 340 aircraft in 1999;
  • a captain on a Boeing 767 aircraft between 2000 and 2010; and
  • a captain on an Airbus 330 aircraft between 2010 and 2011.

"While serving as a crewmember on DC-9, Boeing 767 and Airbus 330 and 340 aircraft, the plaintiff was exposed to toxic chemicals that escaped the aircraft engines and entered the cabin through environmental control systems," Zaharik alleges in his notice of civil claim.

"The toxic chemicals that the plaintiff was exposed to … included tricresyl phosphate and other organophosphates and neurotoxins originating from hot engine oil and hydraulic fluid."

Zaharik alleges that there were five "toxic fume events" in late 2010 and January 2011, which occurred when he was piloting Airbus 330 aircraft between Calgary and London, England.

These exposures allegedly led to significant neurological damage and other personal injuries including:

  • hearing loss;
  • respiratory impairment; and
  • headaches, among many other conditions.

He is seeking damages and costs.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

Tags: law, Air Canada, General Electric Co., chemicals

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