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Woman says she sustained serious injuries on Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix

Posted: 5:50 PM, Dec 12, 2017
Updated: 2017-12-13 16:40:46Z
Woman injured on Southwest Air flight from PHX
Woman injured on Southwest Air flight from PHX

A woman is recovering after she says she was injured on a Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix.

Michelle Birtcher tells ABC15 she was on flight #117 from Phoenix to Albuquerque on Monday morning, when she was burned by hot coffee.

Birtcher says she was asleep, when a flight attendant spilled a tray of coffee on her.

The injuries to Birtcher were so bad that paramedics and police reportedly met the plane at the gate in Albuquerque. She went to the hospital with first and second-degree burns on her arm. 

"I looked down and I'm just drenched in hot coffee," Birtcher said. "Hot coffee and my arms were just on fire."

"I didn't know what was happening," Birtcher recalled. "I had my seat belt on and I couldn't get out of my seat."

She said the passenger next to her was the one who helped her unbuckle her seat belt, as she was still in shock. The flight attendant got her up and yanked up her sweater before rushing her to the bathroom. 

"I was literally in the front of the plane in the bathroom - completely exposed," Birtcher said. "I could see in the mirror in the bathroom and the whole front part of the plane could see me there completely exposed...crying of course."

Birtcher says Southwest Airlines did not seem to care about her injury. Instead of trying to help her, she says they gave her a PO Box to send her complaint to. 

Southwest Airlines told ABC15 they are reviewing the incident and don't have anything to share. 

Stay with abc15.com and ABC15 Mobile for updates on this story.