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Settlement Reached With FAA Over Continental Crash At DIA

DENVER (CBS4) - Passengers and some crew members involved in a Continental Airlines crash at Denver International Airport in 2008 have settled a major lawsuit with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Flight 1404 was taking off for Houston at 6:08 p.m. on Dec. 20, 2008, when it encountered multiple hazardous crosswind gusts and the pilots lost control of the of the aircraft.

"Ops 9 just had an aircraft departure off 3-4 Right, exited the runway at whiskey," stated DIA dispatch.

The individuals involved in the lawsuit sued Continental Airlines after the plane slid off the left side of the runway, crashed into a field and caught fire. A settlement was reached in that case, but many also sued the FAA over what they claimed was negligence.

The lawsuit claimed the air traffic controller on duty failed to provide the pilots with winds at the center of the field rather than just the departure end winds.

"The FAA failed to do their job and it's my belief if the captain of this plane would have been given the center field winds and gusts he would not have taken off and this accident wouldn't have happened," said passenger and pilots' attorney Bruce Lampert.

"It was very crazy. There were people yelling, 'Oh, my God, we're going to die... What's going on?' because it went pitch black," said one passenger.

Among those suing the FAA was the captain of the Continental flight. The terms of the settlement have not been specified, but CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger has learned its well over $1 million.

There were 110 people on board plus five crew members. No one was killed, but 38 people were injured.

Continental Airlines Crash at DIA
An image of Continental Flight 1404 before it was hauled away from the runway area (credit: Copter4)

The NTSB investigation found that the probable cause was the captain's handling of the rudder input when the plane hit a strong gust of wind.

Continental Airlines
An image of the plane before it was hauled away from the runway area (credit: Copter4)
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