TRAVEL
10/12/2011 08:50 am ET Updated Dec 12, 2011

Colleen O'Neal, Continental Passenger, Sues Airline Over Turbulence

Colleen O'Neal was flying on Continental for the quick jump from College Station, Texas to Houston on October 29, 2009 when the plane hit extreme turbulence minutes after take off. She is now suing the airline.

O'Neal, of Lubbock, Texas, claims in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that the airline did nothing to ensure passenger safety when local weather reports showed a "threat of tornadoes, wind shear, and dangerously strong winds with rotating and intense thunderstorms," MSNBC reports.

O'Neal claims she experienced "extreme fear during this flight and believed that she was going to die" and currently suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as nightmares, flashbacks and a severe fear of flying.

“I think they made a mistake in taking off. I don’t think we ever should have been in the air,” O'Neal told MSNBC.com Tuesday. Pilots attempted to make an emergency landing in Victoria, which was later aborted.

O'Neal says she has not been able to fly since, which has prevented her from a better job. The Houston Chronicle reports that O'Neal is a Texas Department of Public Safety employee and she had hoped to work for FEMA, but since she no longer flies, she lost out on the economic benefits of a better job.

Though she purchased the plane ticket through Continental, she is also suing United Airlines (which merged with Continental last year), as well as Pinnacle Airlines, which owns the Colgan Air aircraft in which she was flying, the Chronicle adds.

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