A lawsuit has been filed by the family members of four people who died in a plane crash off North Carolina’s Outer Banks in February.
The coastal crash killed eight people, including four teenagers who were walking home from a hunting trip. Two adults who had traveled with the teenagers also died, as did the pilot and his adult son, who the pilot training said was a pilot Associated Press.
Families of three of the deceased teenagers and one of the deceased adults are suing EDP Management Group LLC and Green Assets, both based in Wilmington, NC, and Dillon’s Aviation, based in Greenville, NC. The lawsuit was filed in Carteret County Court on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
The aircraft, a single-engine Pilatus PC-12/47, departed Hyde County Airport at 1:35 p.m. Sunday, February 13, 2022 bound for Beaufort, NC along the southern edge of the Outer Banks. The aircraft was last seen near its destination at around 2:01 p.m. that day.
On Monday, February 14, 2022, the US Coast Guard confirmed on Twitter that the plane had crashed. Same day, Carteret County Sheriff As Buck held a press conference to state that a body had been found and there was “no indication anyone survived”.
Crews worked for days to recover multiple fields of debris while searching for human remains and a clue to what caused the crash.
The wrongful death suit alleges Pilot Ernest “Teen” Durwood Rawls failed to fly the aircraft safely, failed to maintain control, flew into poor visibility, failed to properly avoid restricted airspace “resulting in an erratic and erratic trajectory,” and failed to balance the weight and the correctly assess the balance of the aircraft before take-off.
“Rawls’ negligent piloting resulted in his subsequent spatial disorientation,” the lawsuit alleges, adding, “Rawls failed to properly and safely operate the aircraft, resulting in a crash.”
The lawsuit was filed by the families Noah Steronfifteen; Michael Schaeferfifteen; Jacob Taylor, 16; and Stephanie Fuller42
The lawsuit details the plaintiffs’ allegations:
At approximately 1:38 p.m., the air traffic controller advised the pilot of the aircraft in question that restricted airspace was active nearby. The pilot confirmed that the aircraft would exit the restricted airspace.
At about 1:41 p.m., the controller called the pilot and informed him that the aircraft was about to enter the restricted airspace. After several calls with no response from the pilot, the controller instructed the military aircraft in the restricted airspace to stay above 4,000 ft msl.
At about 1:49 p.m., the pilot called the controller and requested an RNAV approach to MFH, but the request was denied due to the active restricted airspace. The controller also asked the pilot why he had not responded to the earlier radio calls, to which the pilot replied that he was “trying to bail out” and could not receive the radio transmissions.
At approximately 1401 hrs the air traffic controller called the aircraft and asked what altitude it was at as the aircraft was at 4,700 ft msl and was climbing rapidly. There was no answer. Radar contact with the aircraft was lost at 14:02. Throughout communications with air traffic control, there were no distress calls or an emergency declaration from the aircraft.
Minutes later, the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near Drum Inlet and the shore of Cape Lookout.
“Our clients have been through every family’s worst nightmare and want answers and accountability,” the attorney said Andrew C Robb of Robb & Robb LLC, said in a statement provided to Law&Crime. “This crash was completely avoidable. It is the greatest desire of these families to find out exactly how this tragedy happened so they can prevent others from having to endure what they are suffering.”
The filing is based on a theory of vicarious liability for the three named defendant business entities because the pilot was employed by them at the time of the fatal crash.
“We have no comment at this time,” a Green Assets representative told Law&Crime.
“We were advised by legal counsel not to comment,” a Dillon’s Aviation representative told Law&Crime, “so we will not be commenting at this time.”
EDP Management is an LLC sharing its corporate headquarters and principal place of business with Green Assets. hunter parks, one of the people who died in the plane crash, was the founder and chairman of Green Assets. He is also listed as one of two heads of EDP management in company records.
The lawsuit is seeking a jury trial and various claims in damages totaling over $25,000.
Read the full filing below:
[image via NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images]
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https://lawandcrime.com/lawsuit/wrongful-death-lawsuit-blames-negligent-piloting-for-outer-banks-plane-crash-in-north-carolina-that-left-8-dead/ Lawsuit filed on behalf of those who died in the NC plane crash