Articles Posted in Airplane Crashes

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Miami, Florida – A Miami Beach aviation accident involving a Chalk’s seaplane three years ago has spawned New York and Miami, Florida product liability lawsuits. Two such lawsuits were recently filed against the manufacturer of the seaplane alleging that the Grumman Turbo Mallard seaplane was defective.

Chalk’s Ocean Airways, the former seaplane airline, and its insurance company, AIG have both sued the manufacturer of the aircraft, alleging that it’s design was dangerous and defective, causing the airplane crash that killed 20 people including the crew.

The federal court lawsuits in Miami and New York, claim that the 58-year-old seaplane manufactured by Grumman — now Northrop Grumman — was “not adequately designed for its intended purpose.”

Chalk’s attorneys claim that the airline was forced to go out of business by the defective nature of this airplane.

A spokesperson for Northrop Grumman, the Los Angeles based manufacturer, refused to comment on the lawsuits.

The Chalk’s seaplane caught fire and crashed into the water off Miami Beach on Dec. 19, 2005. The flight was bound for Bimini, a small island in the Bahamas.

In May 2007, the National Transportation Safety Board investigation determined that the plane crash was caused by the separation of the plane’s right wing. It also found that Chalk’s deficient maintenance program was also a contributing cause of the crash.

Chalk’s owner claims that the the cracks were caused by the plane’s defective design and had nothing to do with it’s maintenance program. The suit papers allege a manufacturing defect with the rivets where the wing separated from the fuselage and that they were in an area that is enclosed and cannot be inspected.

AIG paid $50 million in damages to the survivors of the crash victims. It filed a separate lawsuit against Northrop Grumman for subrogation essentially seeking reimbursement of the money it had to pay out.

In December 2005, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Grumman G-73 aircraft still registered in the United States until a determination could be made that the airframes were structurally sound.

No other commercial operators were still using these seaplanes. The last Mallard seaplanes were manufactured in 1951.

Chalk’s never had a fatal accident before the crash in 2005.
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Broward County, Florida – A mid-air collision of two flight school planes Saturday above the Florida Everglades left four people dead.

Investigators resumed their search for the bodies of the four people who were killed when the two aircraft collided over the Everglades in West Broward.

The aircraft, a single-engine Cessna and a twin-engine Piper, slammed into each other Saturday afternoon in an area where South Florida flight instructors regularly take students to practice.

Among those killed in the aviation accident were Stuart Brown, a flight instructor, Bryan Sax, of Colorado, and Edson Jefferson, a pilot from Miramar.

The fourth victim has not yet been identified.

The Cessna took off from North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines and the Piper took off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

”From what I understand, radar shows the two air-crafts merging,” Eric Alleyne, an aviation safety inspector with the National Transportation Safety Board, said of the midair collision. “Right now we need to get the aircraft out and see what we are actually dealing with.”

The radar data will be important in figuring out what caused the plane crash.

Police used air-boats to reach the crash site.

Police had not released the identity of the victims, but three were identified by friends and relatives.

25 year old Brown, a flight instructor from Pembroke Pines and his student, 30 year old Jefferson from Miramar were on board the Cessna.

37 year old Sax of Aspen Colorado, the student and one unidentified person believed to be a flight instructor with Airline Transport Professionals Corp. of Wilmington, Del. were on board the Piper.

One relative was understandably upset.

”We just want rescuers to get the bodies out of that swamp as soon as possible; that’s our main concern now,” said Brown’s aunt Sharon Burton-Lofton of New York.

Meg Fensome, vice president of the Pelican Flight Training Center at North Perry Airport, confirmed that Brown was the instructor killed along with a student aboard the school’s Cessna.

She declined to release any more information for now.
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Gainesville, Florida – Three people were killed in a Florida airplane crash early Friday morning at the edge of the Gainesville Regional Airport. The victims were identified as Key West residents, one of whom was on his way to Shands Hospital at the University of Florida for a transplant.

According to Gainesville police, the pilot, Andrew Ricciuti, 43 was a former Navy pilot who has been flying planes for twenty years.

The two passengers were also identified. Gordon Bennett Taylor, 51, and his wife, Barbara Taylor, 52 were killed in the crash. Their daughter is a student at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

The airplane was a Parntenavia P.68 which was registered to Robert Valle of St. Croix. Valle said Gordon Taylor was a kidney-transplant patient en route to Gainesville. He was scheduled to have surgery on Friday at Shands Hospital.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials, the aircraft was cleared for approach to the Gainesville airport by air traffic controllers in Jacksonville at around 2:45 am.

Gainesville police received a phone call from officials in Jacksonville at approximately 5:16am on Friday advising them that they had lost contact with a six-passenger airplane in the Gainesville area.

It was not immediately known why there was a 2-1/2 hour delay after the time the plane was cleared for approach before local law enforcement was contacted. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators were in Gainesville investigating the cause of this Florida aviation accident.

This is the first airplane crash at the airport in three years.

The NTSB investigation continues.
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MADRID, Spain – A Spanair MD-82 jetliner bound for the Canary Islands crashed during takeoff Wednesday. An estimated 153 were believed dead. The crash of Spanair flight JK5022 is Spain’s worst aviation accident in almost 25 years.

According to Magdalena Alvarez, Spain’s Development Minister whose department oversees civil aviation in Spain, only 19 people survived the crash at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport. Some of those survivors are still in critical condition.

Spanair has not released the death toll, but a company spokesperson said the plane carried 172 passengers and crew, including two babies and 20 youngsters. No one has said how many children died.

Spanair is a Spanish company but is wholly owned by Scandinavian Airlines. Investigators are searching for clues to help determine what caused the accident. Foul play has reportedly been ruled out according to Alvarez who also said that the crash is being treated as an accident. She confirmed that the plane’s “black box” data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have been recovered.

Flight JK5022 which originated in Barcelona and was bound for the city of Las Palmas was a code-share with Flight LH255 of the German airline Lufthansa.

This plane crash is Spain’s worst air disaster since 1983, when a an Avianca Boeing 747 crashed near Madrid killing 181 people. In 1985, a Boeing 727 operated by Iberia Airlines crashed near Bilbao, Spain killing 148 people.

The deadliest airline disaster in history also occurred in Spain killing 583 people. That 1977 plane crash involved two Boeing 747s which collided on a runway in the Canary Islands.
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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Airplane crash leaves four dead and many injured.

A passenger jet bound for Miami, Florida crashed when it overshot a runway, traveled onto a busy Honduras street and ultimately struck an embankment. four people were killed including the pilot and 81others were injured.

Among the injured passengers was Gen. Daniel Lopez Carballo, the former head of Honduras’ armed forces.

The Grupo Taca Airbus 320 which had 124 people on board, was attempting to land when it overshot the runway. It smashed nose-first into an embankment and buckled and broke in places. The pilot and co-pilot were trapped inside the cockpit.

According to Cesar Villalta, director of Honduras’ military hospital, rescuer workers had to pry open part of the wreckage to get them out but the pilot died in the plane crash.

One passenger was Harry Brautigam, the head of a regional development bank. He died of heart failure shortly after the crash. One man on the ground who was believed to be a taxi driver was also killed. His body was trapped under the plane’s wreckage.
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Central Florida – Florida personal injury lawyers filed a lawsuit on behalf of John Graziano, who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident last August.

The defendants – wrestling superstar, Hulk Hogan and his family. Graziano’s parents are suing Hogan under Florida’s “Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine” which holds the owner of an automobile vicariously responsible for the negligent operation of that vehicle.

Experienced Florida personal injury lawyers know how to use Florida’s laws to achieve substantial compensation for their seriously injured clients.

Hogan’s son, Nick Bollea, was driving a car registered in his father’s name at the time of the crash.

The August 2007 auto accident (see my post on March 13th about this crash) left Bollea’s friend, Graziano with permanent brain damage and other serious injuries that will require daily nursing care for the rest of his life.

Bollea faces charges of reckless driving involving serious bodily injury. He will be tried on these charges next month.

The Graziano family filed a lawsuit against Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea), his wife Linda and son Nick, charging them with negligence.
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