PARENTS

Shocking Photos Show Girl's Injuries After Aeroplane Airbag Exploded During Flight

The family received a five-figure settlement from the airline.

16/03/2016 11:34 GMT

Warning: some readers may find the images below graphic.

A four-year-old girl was left with "horrendous" injuries after an aeroplane airbag exploded on her during a flight.

Daisy James, now seven, from Cheltenham, was flying from Washington to London Heathrow when an airbag within the seatbelt she was wearing mistakenly deployed, burning through her clothes.

Daisy's face swelled to "three times its normal size" and following treatment she has struggled to eat, drink and suffered terrible nightmares.

Now, nearly four years on from the incident, Daisy's family have received a five-figure settlement from Virgin Airlines.

"Psychologically, she's still really struggling," Daisy's mum Gillian, 38, said. "When she talks about life, this incident is the first thing she talks about."

PA Real Life
Daisy James, now seven, and her mum Gillian

Mrs James explained how in May 2012, Daisy and her grandmother Sally Dyer, 67, were flying home after visiting family during school holidays.

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

"While they were away they visited zoos, went to the beach and did girly things."

It was during the flight home that Daisy's belt exploded and she sustained burns and cuts to her face, left arm, chest and thigh.

James continued: "The first I knew Daisy had been injured was when I got a call from my mum to say Daisy had a graze to her face.

"I was prepared for a graze. But her face was swollen three times its normal size. It was absolutely horrendous.

"Her left arm was in a sling and her face was bright red and sore. 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."

James said after she saw her daughter at the airport, she took her to the Virgin desk and paramedics were called to treat her.

At Cheltenham Hospital in Gloucestershire, the toddler was X-rayed and given morphine before being transferred to Frenchay Hospital, in Bristol, where a specialist investigated whether her skin was young enough to heal properly.

PA Real Life
PA Real Life

Doctors told the James family the scarring would heal and fade within two years.

Daisy was then given painkillers and taken to see a child psychologist.

She remained in hospital overnight and was sent home the next day.

"Her arm was wrapped up for a week. Her face had to stay open to heal," her mum recalled.

"From there, Daisy struggled to eat and drink. We tried to feed her yoghurt through a straw and she screamed.

Angered by what had happened, the James family sought legal help.

Virgin Airlines, who apologised to the family, admitted liability.

"We got legal help because we thought it was important to find out what had happened and we didn't want this to happen to any other families," she said. 

"I hope airlines and the manufacturer can prevent this from happening again."

However James said the effects of the injury are long-standing.

"Daisy suffered nightmares for months," the mother added. "She still doesn't sleep well.

"She slept in with me and her dad for the first eight months, and is now in with her brother, Jack, who is five."

Nicola Southwell, an expert aviation lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who represented the James' family, said: "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.

"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 spokeswoman said: "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.

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

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