BEAUFORT, S.C. (CN) – The widow of a jogger who was killed by an experimental aircraft as it made an emergency landing on a Hilton Head beach has sued the pilot and the makers of the aircraft. The jogger, Robert Jones, was listening to his iPod as he ran on the beach in March and couldn’t hear the aircraft as it approached from behind. He was killed instantly.
Jennifer Jones seeks damages for strict liability, reckless or malicious conduct and negligence. She says the defendants failed to address known problems with the craft’s engine, crankshaft and propeller.
Courthouse News reported in March that the pilot, Edward Smith, was forced to make the emergency landing after the Lancair IV-P aircraft lost a propeller and his vision became obscured by oil sprayed on the windshield.
Robert Gary Jones, 38, was a senior account manager for a major pharmaceutical firm.
Jennifer Jones says her husband, the father of their two small children, was in excellent health when he set out for a jog that morning.
Joheida Fister, a spokeswoman for Hilton Head Island Fire and Rescue, said Smith and an unidentified passenger left Orlando, Fla., aboard the Lancair IV-P aircraft and were headed for Virginia. The plane started leaking oil at about 13,000 feet, and Smith tried to make it to Hilton Head Airport. But a propeller came off and he had no choice but to try to land on the beach near the Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa, Fister said.
Jones sued Smith, Teledyne Continental Motors, Hartzell Propeller, Lancair International, and Penn Yan Aero Service. She claims the manufacturers failed to notify aircraft owners of “defects and dangerous propensities of various engine components,” and to “unreasonably certify those parts as airworthy.”
She seeks punitive damages. She is represented by O. Fayrell Furr Jr. with Furr & Henshaw of Myrtle Beach.