Continental Plane Crash Lawsuits Filed by More Families
Wrongful death lawsuits have been filed by the families of two more victims of the fatal plane crash of Continental Airlines flight 3407 that occurred on February 12 in Buffalo, New York.
Continental plane accident lawsuits were filed separately by the families of Beverly Eckert and Coleman Mellett, against Continental Airlines, the regional airline Colgan Air and Pinnacle Airlines, Colgan’s parent company.
The complaints allege that the crash of the Continental Connection flight, which was operated by Colgan, was 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, killing all 50 passengers onboard and one man on the ground.
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The Continental crash was the first fatal airplane accident involving a major airline in the United States in more than two years.
Beverly Eckert was co-chair of the 9/11 Family Steering Committee and often acted as a spokesperson for families of victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks, which killed her husband. At the time of the Buffalo plane accident, Eckert was on her way home to Buffalo to celebrate her late husband’s 58th birthday after meeting with President Obama a few days earlier. Her sister, Margaret Eckert filed the plane accident lawsuit on her behalf.
The other complaint was filed by Jeanie Bryson, the wife of Coleman Mellett, a jazz guitarist in Chuck Mangione’s band. Mellett was travelling to Buffalo at the time of the crash to play a concert. Fellow band member Gerry Niewood also died in the accident.
The first wrongful death plane crash lawsuit over the Buffalo accident was filed about two weeks after the accident by the family of Susan Wehle in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. That complaint also named the manufacturer of the aircraft, Bombardier Aerospace Corp., alleging that airfoil icing, an inadequate and defective de-icing system and negligence of the flight crew and maintenance authorities were jointly responsible for the crash.
At a National Transportation Safety Board hearing in May, 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.
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