Saturday, October 26, 2013

Seventh survivor of airline crash sues for damages

Carolyn Cross 
Photograph by: Jason Payne, PNG Files , The Province

A seventh passenger who survived a fatal plane crash at the Vancouver International Airport is suing the commercial airline for damages. 

Carolyn Cross, a West Vancouver businesswoman and mother of three, suffered a multitude of injuries when the small King Air 100 aircraft struck Russ Baker Way, slid across the road and burst into flames in October 2011.

Cross and six other passengers were pulled to safety. The two pilots, Luc Fortin and Matthew Robic, were also rescued but died later from burns.

The aircraft, owned and operated by Northern Thunderbird Air Inc., was on a charter flight from Vancouver to Kelowna at the time.

In a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Cross claims that the plane crashed as a direct result of the negligence of the airline's employees and that the airline is vicariously liable for the employees' negligence.

As Cross and the other passengers boarded the flight, several of them noticed the presence of oil under the aircraft's wing, says the lawsuit.

The presence of oil was reported by the fuel attendant to the flight crew and by the passengers to the flight crew, it says.

Though oil was reported under the wing and on the tarmac, the crew told the passenger who reported the oil problems that this was normal for the type of aircraft and continued the boarding process and the plane left for Kelowna, says the suit.

Soon after takeoff, when the plane had reached an altitude of more than 10,000 feet, the captain announced that the aircraft would be returning to the airport due to an oil leak.

Passengers could see oil streaming from the left engine onto the wing, says the suit.

Power was reduced to the left engine and the flight crew elected not to land at airports closer to its position than Vancouver airport, it says.

No emergency was declared by the flight crew and an attempt was made to land at Vancouver airport, Cross's lawsuit says.

"The flight crew failed to properly manage the speed of the King Air 100. The speed decreased to the point where the King Air 100 became uncontrollable," the suit said.

When the plane crashed, Cross, who had her seatbelt on, had her seat come unbolted from the floor.

She suffered multiple ligament tears and other soft tissue injuries, hard tissue fractures and unsightly scarring to her left knee and fractures and compression injuries to her spine.

Her injuries also included multiple rib fractures, a lung impact injury, fractures to her left hip and ankle and chipped and cracked teeth.

Cross says she has been hospitalized, undergone surgery and treatment and endured pain and mental distress. She says she requires further surgery, as well as medical, dental and mental health care.

She's seeking general and special damages.

An official with the airline said that the lawsuit was news to him and had no further comment.

In January, the six other passengers filed a similar lawsuit.

A civil claim contains allegations that have not been proven in court.


Beechcraft 100 King Air
Northern Thunderbird Air
Accident occurred October 27, 2011 
Near Vancouver International Airport, BC (YVR), Canada

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