CHICAGO (CN) – Citing a history of problems with the Boeing aircraft that crashed over Russia in 2013, relatives of six slain passengers want damages for negligence.
The Nov. 17, 2013, crash of Tatarstan Airlines killed 44 passengers and six crew members, according to the Feb. 4 complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court.
Six of those passengers’ families are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, led by Maria and Abdula Sibgatulin’s children Ilbrus Sibgatulin and Ilsia Shuvalova.
The flight from Moscow Domodedovo was on its final approach to Kazan, Russia, when the “pilots and crew sensed that the aircraft was not properly configured for landing,” the complaint says.
After the pilots switched to manual control, “the plane’s airspeed began to go down,” as the landing gear were retracted and the plane rotated nose up about 25 degrees, Sibgatulin and the other relatives claim.
The pilots began lowering the plane’s nose after decreasing the airspeed “tremendously,” according to the complaint.
Sibgatulin says the plan “began to rapidly descend” from 2,300 feet “until it crashed into the ground at a nose-down altitude of 75 degrees.”
“The Boeing aircraft immediately burst into flames the moment it touched the ground and all occupants perished,” the complaint states.
AWAS Aviation Capital Ltd. allegedly owned the Boeing 737-500 and was responsible for its maintenance until 2006.
Sibgatulin and the other relatives note that the plane was in service for more that 24 years.
AWAS leased the aircraft to Tatarsan Airlines, Tulpar Air inspected it just two days before the crash, according to the complaint.
The families say prior inspections of the plane showed that it had “a variety of known issues including a faulty computer, a faulty actuator and failed torque tubes.”
It was also allegedly known to have problems with its power-control units.
The plane was involved in two other incidents before the Russia crash, the families say, pointing to a “main gear” that broke in 2001 on a Brazilian runway and an 2012 emergency landing that the plane made in Kazan because of cabin depressurization.
AWAS should have revoked the lease to Tatarsan Airlines because of that company’s documented history of incompetence in its operation as an air carrier, the plaintiffs say.
As evidence of this point, the lawsuit points to the airline’s “history of poor maintenance on an epic scale, poor pilot training and total lack of compliance with minimum standards of safety,”
Each of the aforementioned companies is named as a defendant, as are two UK-based AWAS subsidiaries, Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd. and Terra Firma Management Ltd.
The plaintiffs are represented by Joseph Siprut, along with the Los Angeles, Calif., firm Girardi Keese.
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