Friday, June 30, 2017

Jury awards $115.75 million to families of flight crew killed in Afghanistan cargo plane crash: Boeing 747-400 BCF, N949CA, operated by National Air Cargo Inc, dba National Airlines; fatal accident occurred April 29, 2013

 Captain Brad Eric Hasler
May 24, 1978 - April 29, 2013 
Age 34

Jamie Lee Brokaw
March 13, 1980 - April 29, 2013 
Age 33


Jeremy P. Lipka 
October 17, 1975 - April 29, 2013 
Age 37 


CHICAGO, June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- A Cook County jury has returned a verdict in favor of the families of three of seven crew members who perished in the dramatic crash of a National Airlines 747 cargo airplane in Bagram, Afghanistan on April 29, 2013. The crash itself was captured on a dash cam video that went viral over the internet shortly after the accident occurred.

The plaintiffs sued National Air Cargo, Inc., an affiliated company of National Airlines, which through the employees of its regional office in the Middle East, planned, loaded and restrained five Mine Resistant Armor Protected ("MRAP") vehicles for transport on a Boeing 747-400 converted freighter from Camp Bastion, Afghanistan to Bagram and then on to Dubai World Airport for offloading onto a sea vessel. The MRAPs were owned by the U.S. Marine Corps and were ultimately destined for Yermo, California under the terms of a multimodal contract between National Airlines and the U.S. Department of Defense. National Airlines had assigned the performance of work under this multimodal contract to a joint venture between National Air Cargo, Inc. in Orchard Park, NY and National Air Cargo Middle East FZE in Dubai, UAE.

There were five MRAPs loaded on the accident airplane: two 12-ton M-ATVs and three 18 ton Cougars.  The evidence showed there were an insufficient number of restraints or tie down points to restrain these vehicles, and the most that could be safely transported on the plane was one M-ATV and no Cougars. Plaintiffs introduced evidence that the straps used to restrain the cargo were in poor condition, with some past their expiration dates, and that an insufficient number of straps were used to restrain the vehicles.  National Air Cargo Middle East provided for use of 24 straps with the M-ATVs and 26 straps for the Cougars.  Boeing determined that a minimum of 60 straps were needed just for the smaller M-ATVs.

Upon takeoff from the intermediate stopover in Bagram, the restraining devices for one or more of the MRAPs failed, and the rear-most MRAP went through the aft bulkhead in the tail of the airplane, damaging flight control systems and hydraulics to the extent that the airplane became unrecoverable.  The airplane quickly pitched nose-up and entered an aerodynamic stall causing it to fall and hit the ground.

The jury awarded the estate of Captain Brad Hasler a total of $47.25 million in damages. The estate of First Officer Jamie Brokaw was awarded $43 million, and the estate of Captain Jeremy Lipka, an off-duty pilot in the cockpit, was awarded $25.5 million.  Each of these awards included an amount of $5 million for the shock and fright each of the men experienced from the time of takeoff until the time of the airplane's impact with the ground.

"The jury's verdict sent a message that our society still values human life and safety over the pursuit of increased corporate profit," said Donald Nolan, who along with Thomas Routh of Nolan Law Group represented the estates of Jamie Brokaw and Jeremy Lipka. The estate of Brad Hasler was represented by David Katzman and Bruce Lampert of Katzman, Lampert & McClune in Troy, Michigan.

Trials in the cases for the remaining four crew members are expected to be set shortly.

SOURCE Nolan Law Group
http://www.nolan-law.com

http://www.prnewswire.com

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration
Boeing
National Airlines
Telair

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N949CA

NTSB Identification: DCA13MA081
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of National Air Cargo (D.B.A. National Airlines)
Accident occurred Monday, April 29, 2013 in Bagram, Afghanistan
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2015
Aircraft: BOEING 747-400 BCF, registration: N949CA
Injuries: 7 Fatal.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The Safety Board's full report is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/aviation.aspx. The Aircraft Accident Report number is NTSB/AAR-15/01.

On April 29, 2013, about 1527 local time, a Boeing 747-400 BCF, N949CA, operated by National Air Cargo, Inc., dba National Airlines, crashed shortly after takeoff from Bagram Air Base, Bagram, Afghanistan. All seven crewmembers—the captain, first officer, loadmaster, augmented captain and first officer, and two mechanics—died, and the airplane was destroyed from impact forces and postcrash fire. The 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 supplemental cargo flight was destined for Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
National Airlines' inadequate procedures for restraining special cargo loads, which resulted in the loadmaster's improper restraint of the cargo, which moved aft and damaged hydraulic systems Nos. 1 and 2 and horizontal stabilizer drive mechanism components, rendering the airplane uncontrollable. Contributing to the accident was the Federal Aviation Administration's inadequate oversight of National Airlines' handling of special cargo loads.

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