‘More than physical scars’ from in-flight incident

A QUEENSLAND woman whose bottom was burned by a spilled cup of tea on an international flight claims she has an ongoing fear of hot beverages and anxiety about flying.

Dimity Plaister, 47, of Hope Island on the Gold Coast, has sued Hawaiian Airlines in the Federal Court, blaming a male flight attendant for knocking over the "scalding hot" tea on flight HA444 from Brisbane to Honolulu on April 13, 2017, spilling it into her lap.

She claims she sees a psychologist as needed to deal with the trauma, and has a 4cm by 3cm scar on her buttock.

Dimity Plaister is suing for physical and psychological damage.
Dimity Plaister is suing for physical and psychological damage.

Details of her fear of hot drinks were contained in documents filed in the Federal Court in response to the airlines request for further details of her claim, which was filed in April.

The airline denies liability, denies it owes Ms Plaister damages and denies its staff acted negligently in a way to injure her, according to its defence filed in court last month.

It says it if is found to be at fault, it will argue Ms Plaister failed to care for her own safety when reaching for the milk with the tea on her tray table, and failed to ensure her hands or her body did not tip over the tea, and failed to keep a firm hand on the cup.

Ms Plaister states in court documents that she ordered the tea about 11.45pm and the attendant passed her the tea which she put on the tray table in front of her.

"In the process of passing a carton of milk to (Ms Plaister) for her tea, the cabin crew member knocked over the cup of black tea into her lap," the claim states.

Ms Plaister says he knocked it over with his left hand, and she exclaimed: "I need to get my trousers off, they are burning me," and, "I need to get up."

She claims that she was not able to stop the hot tea from spilling on her hip, thigh and buttocks because she was seated with her arms on the armrests.

She claims she was talking to her mother, seated next to her, when the tea spilled, and was not wearing headphones or using the inflight entertainment system, but had one glass of champagne about three hours earlier.

Ms Plaister said she was unable to enjoy her 10-day holiday in Honolulu due to her burns and now feels self-conscious wearing short clothing or swimmers.

The case returns to court on July 30.



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