Manchester Airport tyre blast: Lufthansa and Storm Aviation pay damages

Hendrik Donkers Image copyright Neil Hudgell Solicitors
Image caption Hendrik Donkers was standing less than a metre away from the blast

An engineer who lost an arm and a leg when a tyre on an aircraft exploded at Manchester Airport has been awarded about £600,000 in damages.

Hendrik Donkers, 39, was standing less than a metre away from the blast, which was caused by a faulty nitrogen rig that hugely overinflated the tyre.

Mr Donkers, from Germany, works for Lufthansa airline and was handed the rig by Luton-based ground handling company Storm Aviation in 2008.

Both firms paid out the compensation.

'Saw my hand come off'

The experienced engineer had been called to service to a tyre under the nose of an aircraft when the blast happened.

Mr Donkers, who now wears prosthetics on both limbs and currently co-ordinates safety at the airline, said: "Now when I hear big explosions I react badly - it has been difficult, but this money will help.

"It was very, very hard for me. I saw my hand come off - I could see my hand on the ground and other parts all over the place. It was very hard pain."

An 18-month investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Branch found the rig had been faulty, Neil Hudgell Solicitors said.

Senior solicitor Jane Woodcock said: "In the end the two defendants came to an agreement as to how they settled the damages payable to my client."

Both firms also compensated a German social accident insurance firm about £790,000, for Mr Donkers' care, prosthetics, lost earnings, aids and equipment that had been spent since the explosion in November 2008.

A spokesman for Lufthansa said: "Following the investigations into this incident, additional safety measures have been put in place to prevent similar accidents in the future."

Storm Aviation was unavailable for comment.

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