Government paid $10.2M to settle 2008 Continental Airlines crash at Denver International Airport

DENVER - The federal government paid $10.2 million to settle lawsuits from passengers and crew on a plane pushed off a Denver runway by a wind gust.

In December 2008, Continental Flight 1404 slid off a wind-blown runway during a night takeoff and down a ravine, where it caught fire. All 110 passengers and five crew members managed to escape. Six people were seriously injured and dozens of others were treated for minor injuries.

The jetliner crash was blamed on pilot error and a strong crosswind. A 2010 National Transportation Safety Board report said the pilot failed to make the proper rudder adjustments to keep the plane on the runway while dealing with the crosswinds.

The lawsuits alleged that air traffic controllers didn't tell the Continental Airlines pilot about wind gusts when giving him wind speeds before takeoff. The NTSB report also cited air traffic controllers' failure to provide "key, available" information about the wind as a contributing factor.

A lawyer for some of the around 60 people who sued revealed last month that settlements had been reached and they totaled "several million dollars." The Department of Justice released the settlement amount in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request received by The Associated Press Wednesday.

Investigators said the air traffic control system and inadequate crosswind training in the airline industry contributed to the crash.


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