Jon Campisi Sep. 15, 2011, 8:33pm

The widow and daughter of a man who was killed during a family vacation in Greece this spring have filed a lawsuit against the travel agency that booked the tripped, claiming the company failed to warn the three of the potential hazard that awaited them in the island nation.

Philadelphia attorneys Stephen E. Raynes, Gerald McHugh and Daniel Bencivenga, of the law firm of Raynes McCarty, filed the wrongful death lawsuit Sept. 14 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Kathleen S. Henderson and Stephanie L. Henderson, the respective widow and surviving daughter of the late James Henderson, of Wayland, MA.

The defendant named in the complaint is Gate 1, LTD, doing business as Gate 1 Travel, based in Fort Washington, Pa.

According to the civil action, James Henderson was killed on May 23 of this year after he was swept by a landslide from a steeply graded path leading to the hillside town of Oia in Santorini, Greece.

The accident, the suit states, occurred during the travel agency’s “Santorini Volcano Cruise,” a day-trip arranged by the defendant to take vacationers to various destinations within the Santorini island complex.

The suit claims that while Gate 1 advised travelers to wear comfortable shoes during the excursion, it failed to warn its clients of the potentially lethal landslides they could be subject to once on the hillside path that leads to Oia.

“Because of the failure of Gate 1 Travel to advise the Hendersons as to this deadly risk, the Hendersons’ dream vacation turned into a nightmare, with James Henderson brutally killed as his wife and daughter stood by, narrowly averting death themselves,” the lawsuit states.

The complaint states that when the landslide began, the mules carrying Kathleen and Stephanie Henderson ran forward and away from the landslide, allowing the two to escape death. James Henderson, however, who was riding about 20 feet behind his wife and daughter, “bore the brunt of the landslide. He and the mule on which he was riding were swept from the path, carried down the hillside, and buried beneath tons of rock and dirt.”

The plaintiffs did suffer abrasions and contusions, and had to be taken for medical evaluation.

The complaint alleges that the only warning the defendant gave to travelers was the following: “Please note that the tour involves strenuous uphill walking in uneven surfaces and may not be suitable for all travelers.”

The lawsuit accuses the defendant of negligence for failing to make any inquiry as to the landslide risk faced by cruise participants, misrepresenting the nature and severity of the risk faced by participants, directing and exposing the Hendersons to a foreseeable risk of serious injury, and failing to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances.

The lawsuit also contains counts of negligent infliction of emotional distress and wrongful death.

The plaintiffs demand judgment against the defendant in excess of the jurisdictional limits, or $50,000, together with court costs.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The case number is 110901128.

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