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Monday, February 22, 2016

Lawsuit Alleges Negligence Responsible for Akron Plane Crash That Killed 9

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 1:55 PM

  • Markus Eigenheer via Wikimedia Commons
Last November, a low-flying 10-seater private jet came screaming over Akron, reportedly clipping telephone wires and an apartment building before crashing.

The tragedy killed nine people — all pilots and passengers included. The plane — a Hawker H25 originally out of South Florida — was ferrying a group of Sunshine State real estate executives to Akron Canton International Airport when the plane went down. 

But a new lawsuit recently filed against the owner and operator of the plane by the widower of one of the crash victims claims the tragedy could have been prevented. Negligence, the suit claims, led to the deaths. 

Joel Castillo's wife was among the passengers. An employee of Pebb Enterprises of Boca Raton, Castillo's wife and the other Floridians left Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport on November 10th at 2:13 p.m. Later that afternoon, the jet crashed outside Akron. 

But in a rundown of the complaint, Courthouse News reports that Castillo claims that the pilots were cruising at a dangerously low altitude. The lawsuit also alleges that the pilots "did not have the proper government licenses to operate the plane, and one of them suffered from a severe health impairment that prevented him from passing his medical examination," according to the website. The report also says the lawsuit claims the pilots were operating the jet "with a malfunctioning instrument and control panel."

If the claims prove accurate, that's news. The National Transportation Safety Board has only released a preliminary report on the crash with very little information on what could have caused the accident. A cockpit recorder was recovered from the site, yet very little else is known about how and why the Hawker crashed. 

Castillo's lawsuit — which is aimed at both the plane's owner, Rais Group International, and its operator, Fort Lauderdale-based Execuflight — charges the defendants with negligence and strict liability.

A call to Castillo's lawyer was not returned today. Execuflight's CEO, Danny Lewkowicz, responded with the following comment: 

We cannot comment on an ongoing investigation headed by the NTSB. We are a participant to that investigation and thus cannot make any comments. We of course expect to be suit as that is normal protocol from our legal system. Our current main goal is not law suits but rather determining the factual reasons why the accident happened and that takes time. But we are getting close and soon public dockets will give a clear picture. 

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