Thomas Hewitt and Donald Dowd were injured in a Okeechobee County, Florida plane crash this past weekend. According to news reports, Hewitt and Dowd were practicing takeoffs and landings in a LC42 single-engine plane. According to one source, the plane had a “hard landing” where it nose dived and belly flopped before taking off again.
According to an FAA spokeswoman, the plane hit a truck parked at a store located south of the airport. While it is not clear who was piloting the airplane, I wonder if the the crash was caused by pilot error or by a truck located in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- Did the pilot come in too low for his landing?
- Was the truck parked in an unauthorized area or in an unsafe fashion?
- What kind of truck was it?
- A pick up truck or a very high utility truck with a boom, like a tree trimmer’s truck?
- What about the design of this airport?
- Is the runway designed in an unsafe manner?
- What about the store?
- Was it built in a place where it belongs?
- Was its parking lot constructed in lawful location relative to the runway?
I ask these questions because the placement of the truck may be the reason why this crash occurred. If that is so, we need to know why the truck was parked in that specific location. Who parked it there and why? Who is responsible for parking it there?
As is the case in all plane crashes, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the crash. The role of the NTSB is to investigate these crashes so that we can learn and prevent future accidents. The NTSB is a separate agency from the FAA and even the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Since their role is to get to the bottom of what causes plane crashes, they have no regulatory or law enforcement powers. Moreover, their findings of probable cause are not even admissible in court.
The NTSB will begin its work with a preliminary report about the plane crash. This report is generally available within a few days following a plane crash, although it does not contain their ultimate conclusion about causation. The NTSB’s final report can take a lot more time to draft, in some cases up to 2 years.
By identifying what caused this crash and who is responsible, injury attorneys will be able to determine who is an appropriate defendant and who is a true victim.
The most important thing to remember in this case is that two men were injured. Hopefully they will both have a speedy recovery and not suffer any lasting injuries.
While they get medical treatment, it will be necessary for NTSB investigators and lawyers alike to work on this case to determine what and who may be responsible for the cause. Listening to radio transmissions, flight data recordings, as well as eye witness testimony will all be necessary to get to the bottom of this case.