According to four families and their lawyers, safety is at the center of a lawsuit over the August UPS cargo plane crash near the Birmingham airport.
Four residents who live close the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport filed the lawsuit. They say property was damaged from unsafe flight patterns which resulted in UPS flight 1354 crashing.
The four residents who live near the Birmingham airport are asking the airport authority to buy their homes, because they just don't think it's safe to live there anymore. Also, the attorneys representing the individuals stated the safety conditions of runway 18/36 poses a bigger threat to not only the homes of the four plaintiffs but others nearby.
Cornelius and Barbara Jean Benson's house sits on a hill adjacent to runway 18/36. Before the plane crashed, it clipped one tree and took out another. The Bensons said they could have been killed if the plane went down on their property. According to the lawsuit, debris from the crash was scattered on all three properties and left holes on some roofs.
Pamela Yarber is another resident listed in the lawsuit and she's demanding that the airport authority buys her home as well.
"I still don't sleep when I hear the planes I shake, I'm very nervous it might look like I'm ok, she said. "Tree limbs had literally has been brought forth by the plane and it started breaking up in my yard. It was clear the tail end of the plane was in my yard."
The plaintiffs mentioned when they built their homes years ago, the neighborhood near Tarrant-Huffman Road was thriving. Now that the Birmingham Airport has bought surrounding homes near theirs, the property value has gone down tremendously and they can't sell.
"With respect to our claims, the Airport Authority, through its effort to expand the airport buy all the property around them and not buy theirs, and allow this type of flight pattern, essentially has destroyed the resale value of their homes," attorney Andy Campbell said.
"I don't think it would be right for us to have to go. I just can't pick up that kind of money and buy another house," Benson said.
The lawsuit also alleges that planes like the one that crashed should not be landing on this particular runway in the first place.
"This runway is not safe for the large planes that the airport authority with the approval of the FAA or questionable approval of the FAA have been flying over my clients home and landing here. It's too short," Campbell said.
Campbell also mentioned the runway's lighting is not correct and terrain isn't safe for pilots driving large planes. Since the UPS plane crash, the plaintiffs' health hasn't been great.
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