Ten people are suing the Ministry of Defence after a military plane they were on plummeted 4,400ft when the captain's camera got stuck between controls. A number of those on board suffered minor injuries but many are still suffering the mental impact of the incident such as PTSD, anxiety and phobias of flying.
Almost 200 people were on the board the plane at the time, according to the Sunday Times, which was over the Black Sea when the captain's Nikon camera got stuck between the armrest and side-stick controller.
Many of the passengers were thrown against the roof of the cabin. The co-pilot had to drag himself back to the cockpit where he helped return control – partly with his feet on the roof.
The Voyager aircraft fell for 27 seconds at 15,800ft a minute.
The 10 suing the MoD include nine military personnel and a civil servant – three of whom have been medically discharged from the army since the incident took place in February 2014. The Voyager was travelling from the UK to Afghanistan. The lawyer from the claimants said a number of the passengers believed the plane had been shot down over Afghanistan.
The captain is set to appear before a court-martial in February charged with perjury, making a false record and negligently performing a duty.
Associate solicitor Rhicha Kapila, said some of the claimants suffer from flashbacks, nightmares, mood swings and stutters since the incident, affecting their lives outside of as well as in the military. "They could hear people saying, 'Please don't let me die.' It was a state of chaos and very frightening," she said.
Former commander of UK troops in Afghanistan, Richard Kemp, told the paper that the case was "symptomatic of a compensation culture". "On the whole, servicemen pride themselves on being more robust, more hardy and less inclined to go for the compensation," he said.