Lawsuit Over Fatal Cessna Flight Out of Mich.

     PHILADELPHIA (CN) – Four people died screaming when a Cessna flying out of Michigan lost power and crashed, the families of two passengers claim in court.
     The May 4 complaint against Avco Corp., Lycoming Engines and other manufacturers involves a flight that took off from Oakland County International Airport on June 21, 2013.
     When the plane was just a couple of hundred feet off the ground, it began suffering a power loss and “never recovered sufficient power to continue the flight,” according to the complaint in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
     The plane ultimately crashed into the ground and caught fire, killing Sandra Haley, 53, Jamie Jose, 35 and two others.
     Haley’s and Jose’s families filed the May 4 complaint, which goes into minute detail that the terror these passengers endured in their final moments.
     Jose, the father of three minor children, “suffered multiple skull fractures,” among other injuries, and died in the crash, according to the complaint.
     Haley made it to the hospital with burns to 65 percent of her body but was pronounced dead within hours, her mother says.
     “She was heard screaming after the plane crashed and exploded,” the complaint states.
     The families say Pennsylvania-based Avco and its subsidiaries, Lycoming Engines and Avco Lycoming-Textron Williamsport, fraudulently concealed loose screws, crush-prone gaskets and a defective float system on their Lycoming O-320-E2D engine. Avstar Fuel Systems, a parts manufacturer for Lycoming engines, is also names as a defendant, as is D&G Design, the repair station “responsible for the airworthiness of the accident carburetor for use in the” engine that failed during Haley and Jose’s flight.
     Haley and Jose’s families say these companies knew that the engine and its carburetor had a long history of malfunctions prior to this crash, but concealed this knowledge from the Federal Aviation Association and other aircraft regulatory authorities during and after the engine’s certification process.
     In particular, the defendants allegedly knew or should have known that crush-prone carburetor gaskets could result in an engine being unable to generate power.
     The defendants also allegedly failed to provide adequate safety warnings or maintenance instructions to aircraft engine owners, including the owner of the Cessna aircraft involved in the fatal accident, according to the complaint.
     Though the defendants overhauled the accident aircraft’s engine in 2008, they failed to fix the defects they knew were present, the families say.
     The families seek punitive damages for negligence, recklessness, strict product liability, fraud, and breach of implied and express warranties.
     They are represented by Cynthia Devers of the Philadelphia-based Wolk Law Firm.
     Lycoming has not returned a request for comment.

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