£27,500 award for plane horror girl
PUBLISHED: 14:23 13 July 2006 | UPDATED: 11:53 04 May 2010
A SCHOOLGIRL traumatised by the sight of a jumbo jet fireball hurtling towards her family home seconds before the aircraft crashed in Hatfield Forest has received a £27,500 payout for her psychological injuries in London s High Court. Remy Spruce was jus
A SCHOOLGIRL traumatised by the sight of a jumbo jet fireball hurtling towards her family home seconds before the aircraft crashed in Hatfield Forest has received a £27,500 payout for her psychological injuries in London's High Court.
Remy Spruce was just eight when she witnessed the nightmare spectacle of the blazing Korean Air (KAL) cargo plane screaming towards her rural home in Great Hallingbury, near Bishop's Stortford, in December 1999, passing within 200 yards of the house.
Remy, now 14 and living in Soham, was psychologically scarred by the experience, needing extensive counselling for symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, although the court heard she has since made an extensive recovery.
Mr Justice Mackay approved the £27,500 deal, with the compensation to be paid by the Korean Airlines Company Ltd, or its insurers. Liability was not disputed.
After the short hearing, Remy's father, Clifford, described how the KAL jumbo jet "came out of the sky" without warning towards evening, with lights flashing and engines ablaze.
Remy was in the 300-year-old timber-framed house with her mother, Amanda, and took cover under the kitchen table as the aircraft seemed to be converging on their home, said Mr Spruce.
Miraculously, it veered left seconds before impact, he added, coming down 200 yards away and "exploding into a million bits just beyond the edge of our paddocks".
"Remy was in the kitchen as it came towards the house," he said.
Mr Spruce, now of Fenning Farm, Chapel Lane, Soham Fen, said his wife, Amanda, was also badly affected by the horror of watching the airborne fireball and that her damages claim was previously settled for a five-figure sum.
The 50-year-old company director said the incident forced the family to move home as both Remy and her mother "wanted to get away from the old house".
At Soham Fen, near Ely, Mrs Spruce runs an equestrian centre and her husband has set up a new business.
Remy, who was in court alongside her father, herself said she felt the shadow had now been lifted.
In court her barrister, James Rowley, paid tribute to her progress since the December 1999 episode.
There were no signs of trauma affecting her performance at school, said Mr Rowley, adding that she seems "well settled" in class, with good concentration and adjustment.
The KAL Boeing 747 cargo plane crashed on the edge of Hatfield Forest minutes after taking off from Stansted Airport in Essex en route to Italy, killing all four crew members.
Witnesses reported seeing it exploding in mid-air shortly before it came down, with one local resident speaking of the sky turning "completely orange" as the plane descended.