A Qatar Airways Captain and training instructor lost his “dream” job after he was left with a fear of heights when he was hit on the head with a London Underground sign that fell from a station ceiling in high winds. Piero Burresi-Paone, 58, says he is lucky to be alive following the incident last August and is now taking legal action against Transport for London.
Mr Burresi-Paone was walking into the station with his wife and six-year-old daughter on August 21, 2020, when a three stone (19 kg) sign came dislodged from the ceiling and hit him on the head.
The former Qatar Airways pilot, who was spending time with his family who lives in London, was rushed to hospital and treated for a serious head injury. Mr Burresi-Paone says he is lucky to be alive. “If it had been my daughter who had been struck by the sign she would be dead,” he told the Evening Standard.
Mr Burresi-Paone was discharged from the hospital after five days but he was left suffering from vertigo which has been a “disaster” for his career. Soon after the incident he lost his “dream” job with Doha-based Qatar Airways.
“They decided to get rid of me,” Mr Burresi-Paone said. “I was devastated and it made me worried that I wouldn’t be able to get another job flying.” He has since received treatment for vertigo and is once again fit to fly.
Representing Mr Burresi-Paone, Osbornes Law says the sign had been reported loose before the incident and Transport for London knew there was a risk it could fall and injure someone.
“This incident has had a devastating impact on my client’s life,” commented lawyer Robert Aylott. “He is desperate for liability to be admitted so that he can move on.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Transport for London which operates the London Underground said: “We take the safety of our network extremely seriously and were very sorry to hear about this incident.”
“Our insurers are continuing to provide significant support for the claimant. We wish him a full recovery.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.