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“Flightseeing” aircraft crash litigation

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2022 | Personal Injury

With some of the most stunning scenery in the country, Alaska has a great many sightseeing (or “flightseeing”) charter flights. They often fly into wilderness areas, sometimes in less-than-ideal weather.

Last August, one of these flights stuck a tree and crashed in Misty Fjords National Monument Wilderness near Ketchikan. None of the six people aboard the plane survived. 

The preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board report indicated that there was low cloud cover in the area of the crash. However, an NTSB official in Alaska cautioned that the NTSB wouldn’t have its complete findings for at least a year.

What makes charter flights so dangerous?

Charter and other small planes can crash for any number of reasons. In addition to weather conditions, pilot error or medical emergency, faulty equipment on the plane and traffic controller errors can be at fault.

Those injured in a crash and surviving family members of those killed don’t have to wait until the final NTSB report is issued to file a lawsuit against the aviation company that owned the plane and hired the pilot, the aircraft’s manufacturer and others they may hold responsible for the crash.

Aircraft owners may file their own lawsuits. After the Jan. 2020 helicopter crash that killed basketball great Kobe Bryant, one of his daughters and seven others, including the pilot, surviving family members sued the company that owned the helicopter. They’ve settled the suit, which contended (as the NTSB did) that the pilot erred in flying into heavy clouds, which disoriented him. However, that company has sued two air traffic controllers who worked for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for “a series of erroneous acts and/or omissions.”

If your company is dealing with litigation over an aircraft crash, it can be a long and protracted process. Having experienced legal guidance is crucial.