Continental Airlines has reached a settlement agreement in at least two wrongful death lawsuits filed as a result of a 2009 airplane crash in Buffalo, New York that killed 50 people.
The airline settled claims by the families of John G. Roberts III and Darren Tolsma late last month. The details of the settlements have not been disclosed, and the airline still faces a number of wrongful death lawsuits over the airplane accident.
On February 12, 2009, Continental Airlines Flight 3407, a connection flight operated by Colgan Air, crashed in Buffalo, killing all 49 people onboard and one person on the ground.
According to Continental plane crash lawsuits filed as a result of the tragedy, the accident was allegedly caused by the negligence of the pilots and the airlines. The pilots had the plane on autopilot when the wings iced up a short distance from Buffalo-Niagara airport. The plane lost lift, stalled and crashed into a house. Complaints have been filed against Continental, Colgan Air, and Colgan’s parent company, Pinnacle Airlines.
At a National Transportation Safety Board hearing in May 2009, it was revealed that the pilot of Continental Flight 3407 had failed five FAA “check ride” tests prior to the accident, which are designed to make sure pilots are competent in case of an emergency. It was suggested that the pilot may not have been adequately trained to respond to the emergency situation and crew fatigue was also suspected as a possible factor in the accident.
The Continental crash was the first fatal airplane accident involving a major airline in the United States in more than two years.