Accidents have a myriad of causes. Many of these causes are things that occur in the moment. Other accidents are caused by mechanical errors, problems that can stem back to the vehicle's initial construction or that can be more recent, such as the failure to provide proper maintenance. This is true of car accidents – it is also true of aviation accidents. Our Panama City aviation accident lawyer is prepared to advocate for those who lose loved ones in aviation accident and those who are injured in the same, whether that means pursuing claims against pilots, carriers, manufacturers, maintenance companies, or any others who bear responsibility for plane accidents.
This week, Panama City's News Herald shared an Associated Press article about the crash of a small plane in Georgia. The Piper PA-32 took off from Apalachicola Municipal airport on May 27, headed for Greenville Downtown Airport in South Carolina. Tragically, the plane crashed. It landed in a swampy area near Robins Air Force Base, approximately 500 yards from Georgia Highway 247. Both 58-year-old Anthony Cabeza of Greer, SC and Julius Gilreath, age 71 of Greenville, SC were killed in the plane crash.
A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") sheds some additional light on the central Georgia crash. The pilot initially contacted the air traffic controller when he noticed a slight drop in oil pressure, asking for permission to land at Macon's Middle Georgia Regional Airport. In a subsequent call, he reported that the engine in the single-engine plane had stopped. The pilot, still speaking with the Macon controller, said he no longer would make it to Macon and requested permission to land at Robins Air Force Base. The Macon controller called his Robins counterpart and told the pilot to contact the tower.
No further response came from the plane, which then crashed less than a mile from Robins. The report notes that both a tower and an airborne aircraft spotted smoke. First responders were on scene and found the wreck in a highly wooded space approximately 20 minutes after losing communication.
One of the NTSB's responsibilities is reviewing aviation accidents and maintaining a database of civil aviation accidents. In most cases, a preliminary accident report (such as that released in the accident above) is available within a few days and additional factual information is added as it becomes complete. Later, the agency releases a final description of the incidents and its probable causes.
Airplane accidents can be caused by a range of factors, with many accidents involving more than one problem. PlaneCrashInfo.com, a privately-run database focused on aviation incidents, suggests that pilot error is the leading cause for plane crashes in the decade from 2000 through 2010. Mechanical failure is the next leading cause. Other causes listed in the group's review of aviation accidents include weather-related problems and sabotage. There can also be problems with the runway or other external but related factors.
Along with the range of causes in aviation accidents, there is a range of parties that may be held legally responsible following an airplane accident. Parties that may be deemed at fault include: pilots; airlines; aircraft manufacturers; manufacturers of component parts; airport management; and saboteurs/terrorists.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a plane crash in Northwest Florida, please call our Panama City airplane accident law firm. We can help.