March 29, 2016 3:46 pm
Updated: March 29, 2016 4:45 pm

One year later: AC624 passengers still recovering from Halifax crash landing

WATCH ABOVE: Passengers who were on board Air Canada flight 624 when it crash landed in Halifax on March 29, 2015 are still recovering from the effects - both physical and emotional. They're also waiting for financial settlement. Rebecca Lau reports.


One year after Air Canada flight 624 crash landed at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, passengers are still recovering from the effects and trying to move on.

Debbie Slauenwhite and her daughter were among the 133 passengers on board the plane when it hit a power line and an antennae array in poor weather before bouncing and skidding down the runway.

READ MORE: Timeline of Air Canada flight 624 crash

Passengers exited the plane on the emergency slide and were left stranded on the runway during a blizzard before being transported into a hangar. Twenty-five people were injured and had to be treated in hospital.

WATCH: Looking back on he AC 624 crash one year later

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At first, Slauenwhite thought she was fine and returned to work just a few days later. In the weeks following, she discovered she had suffered a concussion and was later diagnosed with PTSD.

“For the first six weeks after the crash, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me,” she said.

“I thought I was okay because I came away from it without any tremendous physical injuries but I kept wondering why my emotions were all over the place and why I would panic when I heard the planes coming in over the house.”

READ MORE: AC624 passenger video shows scene on tarmac minutes after crash landing

Slauenwhite has since been treated by a psychologist and says she is feeling much better emotionally. She has even flown again and is planning to fly next month on a trip with her husband.

Passengers still waiting for settlement

In the weeks following the crash landing, Slauenwhite and the other passengers received $5,000 from Air Canada. They were told in a letter the money would be taken out of any settlement that came as a result of the incident.

She is now hoping to receive that final settlement from the company and “close that chapter” in her life.

“From this point on, I would just like it to be done,” she said.

“I would like the settlement to come through. I believe it would be fair. I can’t imagine that they would be unfair just because of the scope of the whole thing. I know a lot of people have ongoing medical bills, like I do.”

A spokesperson from Air Canada told Global News the company has no update on the settlement.

While Slauenwhite has opted not to join a proposed class action, about 40 people have signed on to the suit that was launched by Wagner’s Law Firm.

It names several defendants including Air Canada, NAV Canada, Transport Canada, the Halifax International Airport Authority and the manufacturer of the aircraft.

“Right now, we’re in the process of finalizing our certification material so that we can file that and then the defendants will file theirs,” said lawyer Ray Wagner.

“We have a certification hearing scheduled for December so we’re very happy we’ve been able to move this matter along very efficiently.”

Ordeal could have been avoided: passenger

Dalhousie University student Asher Hodara, one of the lead plaintiffs named in the class action, hit his head twice during the crash landing and ended up with a concussion.

He says he joined the class action because he believes the whole ordeal could have been avoided.

“I’m sure it was a tough decision for them whether to land or not but I think in this instance the right decision wasn’t made for the conditions,” Hodara said.

READ MORE: Photos of cabin of flight AC624 which crashed in Halifax in March released by TSB

“Also waiting on the tarmac so long during a storm and not being able to go into the airport, and also the fact that the airport’s power went out during all of this. I think for those reasons that’s why I wanted to join because I don’t think anything like this should happen again.”

Another law firm is pursuing a mass tort claim, where all the clients will be named individually.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the incident is still ongoing.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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