EDP Management Group LLC, Green Assets, and Dillon’s Aviation of Greenville were all recently named in a wrongful death lawsuit over a fatal plane accident.
A wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed in the aftermath of a plane crash that claimed the lives of eight people. The suit was filed by the families of four of the victims, which includes three teens. The tragic accident happened in February off the North Carolina Coast. The defendants in the suit are the “companies that owned the plane and employed the pilot, who also died.” According to the lawsuit, “the pilot failed to properly fly the single-engine plane in weather conditions with limited visibility, making the companies liable.”
The plane that crashed was the Pilatus PC-12/47. Among the eight victims were four teenagers and two adults who were returning from a hunting trip. The other two victims were the “pilot and his adult son, who was a student pilot,” the suit states. Filed earlier this week in Carteret County, the suit specifically names EDP Management Group LLC, Green Assets, and Dillon’s Aviation of Greenville.
What happened, though? What were the events leading up to the crash? For starters, the incident happened on February 13. Early afternoon, the plane took off from Hyde County Airport near the Pamlico Sound. The destination was Beaufort in Carteret County, across the sound. The pilot, Ernest Rawls, allegedly “failed to maintain control over the plane and improperly flew into weather conditions with limited visibility that required the use of instrumentation.”
Additionally, the suit also claims the pilot “failed to maintain adequate communication with air traffic control and failed to avoid restricted military airspace, leading to an erratic and irregular flight path.” On top of that, it also alleges the pilot “improperly relied on a co-pilot with inadequate training and experience to fly around the restricted airspace and in those weather conditions.” The co-pilot, Rawls’ son, allegedly only had 20 hours of flight experience on the books at the time of the doomed flight. Lastly, the lawsuit also claims that Rawls “failed to conduct a proper weight and balance evaluation before taking off.”
Shortly after the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board conducted an investigation. In a preliminary accident report, the board said the “pilot had made no distress calls and no declarations of an emergency.” The report further stated:
“The airplane had reached 4,700 feet (1,430 meters) and was climbing quickly…There was no response to calls from an air traffic controller, and radar contact was lost.”
Andrew Robb is one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. He specializes as an aviation attorney and said the “plane’s lack of distress calls and climbing altitude were hallmarks of a pilot becoming spatially disoriented.” He added:
“If there was a problem with the mechanics or the electronics or something on that airplane that caused this 3,000-foot ascent, you would think that the pilot would have made some kind of communication.”