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American Law Firms File Claim Against The FAA And Seek Discovery On Behalf Of Family Of Aeroflot Plane Crash

CHICAGO – American law firms, Nolan Law Group and Ribbeck Law Chartered, today filed a Petition for Discovery in the state court in Chicago arising from the Boeing 737 crash of Aeroflot-Nord Airlines in Perm, Russia on September 14, 2008. The petition was filed on behalf of Aleksey A. Afanasenkov, Sr., whose son perished in the crash, and seeks documentation and information concerning the individuals or companies that may be responsible for causing the crash.

Additionally, the law firms asserted a formal claim on behalf of Mr. Afanasenkov against the United States Federal Aviation Administration for its failure to properly regulate U.S. training institutions which provided training to the crew of the accident airplane. The US-Russian treaty entitled “Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation for the Promotion of Aviation Safety” entered into force on September 2, 1998. Under the treaty, the U.S. government agreed that the FAA would monitor, among other things, aviation training establishments in the United States providing training to Russian pilots in accordance with the standards, rules, practices, general procedures and Implementation Procedures established pursuant to the treaty.

While the investigation of the crash is ongoing and no probable cause determinations have yet been made, the circumstances of the crash have highlighted the dangerous shortcomings in the training of pilots accustomed to Eastern-built aircraft transitioning into operation of Western-built airliners. It futher highlights the need for proper oversight in the FAA airworthiness certification process of transport category airplanes.

It was previously reported by the airline, Aeroflot-Nord, that the captain of the accident airplane received training in the 737-500 at a U.S. based training institution in 2006, and had 452 hours as pilot-in-command of this model airplane. The first officer began flying the 737-500 airplane earlier this year and had only 219 total hours in the model airplane. Both pilots had spent the majority of their careers operating Russian-built aircraft which have some significant technical differences in cockpit instrumentation from Western-built aircraft such as the Boeing 737.

For further information on this news item please contact Thomas J. Ellis, Director of Litigation Support, Nolan Law Group, 20 North Clark Street, 30th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60602. Office: (312) 630-4000; Mobile (312) 493-3349 or e-mail: tje@nolan-law.com

Spanair MD-80 Plane Crash in Madrid Spain

Accident Overview

On August 20, 2008 at 2:45 GMT, Spanair flight number JK5022 crashed while taking off from Madrid’s Barajas Airport. The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 registration number EC-HFP was bound for Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and using runway 36L. Initial reports indicate that 153 people perished in the crash.

Spanaii Madrid Crash Site

Passengers and Crew

The jet was carrying approximately 172 passengers and 6 crew members bound for Las Palmas during the height of Europe’s summer vacation season. Twenty-two children and infants were listed on the passenger manifest. Nineteen people are reported to have survived the crash. Lufthansa reported that it had issued codeshare tickets to seven people and that four of them were from Germany. Canary Islands official said passengers included Swedes and Dutch. Sweden’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that two Swedes were onboard the aircraft.

Preliminary Investigation

The National Transportation Safety Board will be sending a team of investigators to Madrid, Spain, to assist the Spanish Civil Aviation Authority in the investigation of the accident in which a Spanair MD-80 (Spanish Reg. EC-HFP) crashed on take-off. The U.S. team will also include technical advisors from the FAA, Boeing, and Pratt & Whitney. NTSB Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker has designated senior air safety investigator John Lovell as the U.S. Accredited Representative; four other NTSB technical specialists will accompany him.

Aircraft Information

The airplane involved in the accident in Madrid was a 15-year-old McDonnell Douglas MD-82. The MD-80 family was designed by McDonnell Douglas in the 1970s as the successor to its DC-9 line and entered service in 1980. The engines on the plane were manufactured by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of U.S. conglomerate United Technologies Corp. Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas in 1997, and the last of the MD-80 family rolled off its production line in 1999.

Mcdonnell Douglas MD-82

Operator Information

The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 was operated Spanair S.A. The Airline is based in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and is subsidiary of Scandinavian Airlines Systems. It provides a scheduled passenger network within Spain and Europe, with an extension to West Africa. Its main base is Son Sant Joan Airport (PMI), with hubs at Barajas International Airport (MAD), Madrid and El Prat International Airport (BCN), Barcelona.

149 dead in plane crash at Madrid airport

MADRID, Spain (AP) — A Spanish airliner bound for the Canary Islands at the height of the vacation season crashed, burned and broke into pieces Wednesday while trying to take off from Madrid, killing 149 people on board, officials said.

There were only 26 survivors in the mid-afternoon crash, said Spanish Development Minister Magdalena Alvarez, whose department is in charge of civil aviation. It was Spain’s deadliest air disaster in more than 20 years.

A police officer said the bodies were so hot that police could barely touch them and told El Pais newspaper the shattered wreckage bore no resemblance to a plane.

Dozens of ambulances rushed to the site as columns of smoke billowed from the wreckage. The prime minister broke off his vacation in southern Spain and rushed back to Madrid, heading straight for the airport.

“I have never seen anything like this in my life,” ambulance driver Luis Ferreras, who viewed the crash site, was quoted as saying by El Pais.

Spanair Flight JK5022 — bound for Las Palmas during the height of Europe’s summer vacation season — was just barely airborne when it veered right, crashed and broke into pieces, reports said.

Spanair spokesman Sergio Allard told a news conference the plane was carrying 175 people and the cause of the crash was not immediately known.

El Pais said the plane left an hour late because of technical problems. It eventually managed to get slightly off the ground but crashed near the end of the runway, El Pais said, quoting an employee of the national airport authority AENA.

Helicopters and fire trucks dumped water on the plane, which ended up in a wooded area at the end of the runway at Terminal 4.

A makeshift morgue was set up at the city’s main convention center, officials said.

Mats Jansson, the chief executive of Spanair’s owner, Scandinavian Airlines, said he had no information about the toll or the accident itself.

In Germany, Lufthansa said it issued tickets to seven people who checked in for the flight, and that four of those were from Germany. It was unclear whether they were German citizens.

Sweden’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that two Swedes were onboard the aircraft. One of them has been located at a hospital while the other is unaccounted for, ministry spokeswoman Gufran al-Nadaf said.

The plane was an MD-82 on a codeshare flight with Lufthansa’s LH255, Spanair said. Departures from Madrid’s airport were suspended for several hours.

McDonnell Douglas was bought out by Boeing in 1997. Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx said the company would send at least one person to assist in the investigation of the crash as soon as it receives an invitation from Spanish authorities.

“We stand ready to provide technical assistance,” he said, reading from a prepared statement.

Allard said the plane last passed an inspection in January of this year and no problems with it had been reported since then. The plane is 15 years old and has been owned by Spanair for the past nine, he said.

Last July, 199 people were killed in Brazil when an Airbus A320 belonging to TAM airlines skidded off the runway at Sao Paulo’s Congonhas airport before crashing into a nearby gas station and an air cargo building.

Five people died and 65 were injured on May 30 when the A320 belonging to Grupo Taca skidded off the end of the runway at Toncontin International Airport near the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.

The deadliest disaster in aviation history occurred in Spain in 1977 as a result of a runway collision between two fully loaded Boeing 747s in the Canary Islands. A total of 583 people died.

In November 1983, a Boeing 747 operated by the Colombian airline Avianca crashed near Madrid as it prepared to land, killing 181 people.

In February 1985, an Iberia Boeing 727 crashed near Bilbao in the Basque region, killing 148 people.

By HAROLD HECKLE Associated Press Writer

Northern California Firefighter Helicopter Crash

Accident Overview

At approximately 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday August 5, 2008 about 35 miles northwest of Redding in the Trinity Alps Wilderness area of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest a Sikorsky S-61 helicopter entered a remote area to pick up firefighters battling wildfires. According to the Federal Aviation Administration shortly after lifting off from a clearing the Sikorsky S-61 chopper crashed “under unknown circumstances” and was destroyed by fire. Witnesses of the helicopter accident told investigators the aircraft had lifted off more slowly than normal before it struck a tree and crashed. According to reports the chopper’s nose hit the tree about 40 to 50 feet above ground, its rotor blades struck trees and branches before the aircraft plummeted to the ground. The aircraft came to rest on its left side about 150 yards from its takeoff site and then “quickly filled with very dense, thick black smoke” before catching fire.

Redding Crash Site


Passengers and Crew

The Sikorsky S-61N was transporting 10 firefighters, two pilots and a U.S. Forest Service employee back to base camp. Four of those aboard were rescued and taken to hospitals 9 others are presumed dead. The firefighters had been working at the northern end of a fire burning on more than 27 square miles in the national forest, part of a larger complex of blazes that is mostly contained.

Carson Helicopters Pilot:William Coultas was in critical condition UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento
Grayback Firefighter: Michael Brown, 20, was in fair condition at University of California-Davis Medical Center
Grayback Firefighter: Jonathan Frohreich, 18, was in critical condition at UC-Davis
Grayback Firefighter: Rick Schroeder, 42, was in serious condition at Mercy Medical Center in Redding

Carson Helicopters Pilot: Roark Schwanenberg, 54, of Lostine, OR
U.S. Forest Service Flight Inspector: TBD
Grayback Firefighter: Shawn Blazer, 30 from Medford, OR
Grayback Firefighter: Scott Charleson, 25 from Phoenix, OR
Grayback Firefighter: Matthew Hammer, 23 from Grants Pass, OR
Grayback Firefighter: Edrik Gomez, 19, from Ashland, OR
Grayback Firefighter: Steven Renno, 21, Cave Junction, OR
Grayback Firefighter: Bryan Rich, 29, from Medford, OR
Grayback Firefighter: David Steele, 19, from Ashland, OR


Preliminary Investigation

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration dispatched teams to the crash site on Tuesday August 5, 2008. Investigators plan to survey the treetop heights and topographical features of the crash site, take fuel samples, and review the aircraft’s maintenance records. They also plan to analyze the helicopter’s escape windows, seat belts and other factors that would tell them something about the difficulties passengers would have encountered evacuating the aircraft.

The task of identifying the remains of the nine people killed in the crash is also currently underway. Due to the extent of the damage, DNA and dental records will likely have to be used for identification.

Investigators said Friday August 8, 2008 that they had recovered the cockpit voice recorder from the wreckage and that the device was bound for an NTSB laboratory in Washington. The NTSB also said that it will be quite some time before they can determine the cause of the accident.

Redding Crash Site


Aircraft Information

The 30-year-old helicopter, a Sikorsky S-61 operating under registration number N612AZ was originally made in Connecticut and the helicopter’s engine, airframe and rotors were upgraded three years ago. The Sikorsky S-61 helicopter is the only wild-land firefighting helicopter in the nation equipped to simultaneously carry both water and crew. It can simultaneously carry up to 18 firefighters and drop up to 1,000 gallons of water via a suspended bucket.

Sikorsky S-61N Rotorcraft


Operator Information

The helicopter was operated by Carson Helicopters, which has offices in Grants Pass, Oregon, and Perkasie, Pennsylvania.

Operating since 1963 Carson Helicopters provides a unique array of services, ranging from airlifting external & internal cargo, carrying personnel, suppressing wildfires, carrying out emergency search & rescues, performing high-rise rooftop installations, pouring concrete, and erecting steel structures and power lines in areas where ground-based cranes cannot access. Carson Helicopters is a F.A.A. (Federal Aviation Agency) Approved Helicopter Repair Station for the overhaul, repair, and remanufacture of all major model helicopters with facilities that include hangars, heliport, paint shops, workshops and office buildings.

Carson Helicopters holds over 20 STCs for improvements and modifications made to the Sikorsky S61 Helicopter and developed the first short S61, removing 50 inches from the airframe which allowed for an increase in heavier lifting capability. In 1976, Carson Helicopters set a world record that remains unbroken today for off loading 602,000 metric tons of concrete in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

In 2003, The Carson Composite Main Rotor Blade was certified by the FAA, permitting the Sikorsky S61 to carry an additional 2000 pounds, fly 17 miles per hour faster and travel 70 miles farther on the same fuel load.


Jim Hall, Former NTSB Chairman and Counsel to The Nolan Law Group Issues Statement Regarding Flight Data Recorders

CHICAGO, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Jim Hall, former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Counsel to the Nolan Law Group issued the following statement today:

At his press availability in Minnesota Friday morning, NTSB Member Steven Chealander revealed that there was no flight data recorder (FDR) installed on the Hawker 800 that crashed in Owatonna, MN, on Thursday morning.

Fortunately, the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) will provide some limited information as to the flight crew’s reactions and actions regarding whatever caused the crash, but an FDR would provide a fraction-of-the-second readout of systems performance. This information would yield critical insight into any mechanical malfunction. Witness reports indicate the aircraft touched down at Degner Owatonna Airport, but that it appeared the landing attempt was aborted for some reason and the airplane was trying to become airborne when it crashed, killing the two pilots and the six passengers.

The NTSB must now try to piece together what happened in those final seconds.

We’ve had this frustration before — a fatal crash and no flight recorder to help document why the airplane stalled and plummeted to the ground. Recall the 2005 crash of a Cessna Citation V jet owned by Circuit City Stores in Pueblo Colorado where all eight people aboard the jet were fatally injured or the 2002 crash of a King Air A100 on approach at Eveleth, MN, that killed Sen. Paul Wellstone and the seven others aboard. Neither plane was equipped with an FDR. We see this time and time again — an accident occurs with air taxis or corporate airplanes, and recorders were not required to be installed, forcing NTSB accident investigators into a search for other data, such as radar tapes from air traffic control, to infer what happened. A supposition, however well educated, is simply not good enough.

As a result of the Wellstone accident, the NTSB recommended to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that if recorders are not going to be ordered installed on air taxis, at the least a video recording of pilots’ actions in the cockpit, in which the field of view would capture essential controls and the instrument panel, should be obtained.

On 7 March 2008, some six years after the Wellstone crash, the FAA ruled that video recorders would not be mandated for installation on air taxis. Needless to say, the NTSB’s “Most Wanted” safety recommendation remains in an “unacceptable” status. In its ruling, the FAA said, “The issue of cockpit video is unsettled.” The unsettled situation averred to by the FAA results in large measure because of its failure to press the issue with industry. Sadly, despite the availability of this invaluable technology, the inaction of the FAA and the business aviation community regarding these safety measures will once again leave the people of Minnesota asking questions.

According to the FAA, the 124-page March rule on recorders “will enable investigators to retrieve more data from accidents and incidents requiring investigation.” Unfortunately, that’s true only for airplanes carrying ten or more passengers. Hundreds of airplanes, including the Hawker and the King Air carrying Sen. Wellstone and party, are not covered. So much for the FAA’s much-publicized ethic of “one level of safety.” The sad fact is that occupants aboard air taxis are not afforded the same protection as passengers aboard a regularly scheduled airline. Make no mistake, recorders are part of the safety equipment, because with the information they contain, we can prevent the next accident.

To reach Mr. Hall for additional comment please contact either Brianne Murphy at 347-524-1415 or Jamie Crooks at 619-507-4182.

Owatonna Minnesota Plane Crash

Accident Overview

At about 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 31, 2008 Flight ECJ 81 (a Raytheon Hawker 800) crashed in a corn field northwest of runway 30 at Degner Regional Airport in Owatonna Minnesota. The aircraft was en route from Atlantic City with a scheduled stop in Owatonna Minnesota. The flight originated from its base in Allentown Pennsylvania and was ultimately headed for Crossville Tennessee. Seven people were found dead at the scene and an eighth died shortly thereafter in a local hospital.

Owatonna Crash Site

Passengers and Crew

The jet was carrying six casino and construction executives and two pilots. The executives were en route to meet with representatives of a local glass company to discuss a hotel-casino complex being built in Atlantic City by Revel Entertainment. The identities of all 8 victims have recently been released.

Clark J. Keefer, 40, of Bethlehem, PA, Pilot for East Coast Jets;

Dan D’Ambrosio, 27, of Hellertown, PA, Pilot for East Coast Jets;

Karen Sandland, 44, of Galloway, NJ, Project Manager for Tishman Construction Corporation;

Marc L. Rosenberg, 57, of Margate, NJ, Chief Operating Officer of APG International in Glassboro, NJ;

Alan M. Barnet, 51, of Absecon, NJ, Assistant Project Manager of APG International in Glassboro, NJ;

Tony Craig, 50, of Brigantine, NJ, V.P. of Construction Development for Revel Entertainment;

Chris Daul, 44, of Northfield, NJ, V.P. of Construction Development for Revel Entertainment; and

Lawrence “Chip” Merrigan, 62, of Absecon, Director of Field Operations for Revel Entertainment.

Preliminary Investigation

The National Transportation Safety Board immediately dispatched a 14 member “Go Team” to investigate the crash. The NTSB, looking for clues which could possibly reveal why the plane crashed has been surveying the wreckage, examining the runway and taking eye witnesses statements. At this time, accident investigators would not speculate on a possible cause but did release the following information.

In a press conference held on August 1st at 11:00 MDT, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Member Steven Chealander confirmed that a cockpit voice recorder and flight management system were both recovered from the accident and have been sent to the NTSB lab in Washington, D.C. for analysis. Although large commercial aircraft and some smaller commercial, corporate, and private aircraft are required by the FAA to be equipped with two “black boxes” — both the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and a Flight Data Recorder (FDR) — the aircraft in yesterday’s accident was not equipped, nor was it required to be equipped, with an FDR.

The FDR is a more sophisticated means of data collection and monitors parameters such as altitude, airspeed and heading. Both recorders are installed to help reconstruct the events leading to an aircraft accident. Since 1999, the NTSB has listed the improvement of audio and data recorders on its “Most Wanted List” of transportation safety improvements. The Board specifically renewed these recommended safety improvements in 2004 during the investigation into the October 25, 2002 plane crash of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, which lacked an FDR, making it extremely difficult for investigators to piece together the last few moments of the flight. Nonetheless, the NTSB notes that these recommendations remain “open” with an “unacceptable response” from the FAA. Jim Hall, a Nolan Law Group attorney and former NTSB Chairman, stated “Sadly, despite the availability of this invaluable technologythe inaction of the FAA and the business aviation community regarding these safety measures will once again leave the people of Minnesota asking questions.”

Weather Radar Analysis

Nolan Law Group’s consulting meteorological expert has reviewed the weather radar and other weather products available around the time of the crash and has determined it is unlikely weather conditions directly contributed to the aircraft accident. There was no evidence to suggest wind shear, updrafts, lightning strikes, or other weather phenomenon in the area at the time of the crash. Severe weather reported near Owatonna earlier that morning had passed the airport prior to the aircraft’s approach to landing.

Weather Radar Analysis Video

Source: Video shows the weather conditions and flight path of the Raytheon Hawker 800 – Flight ECJ81 – before the crash..
Source: FlightExplorer.com

Runway Conditions

On July 31, 2008 Degner Regional Airport experienced a heavy downpour just prior to the attempted landing of the East Cost Jets plane. Runway 12/30, where the Hawker 800 crash occurred is listed as a 5500 x 100 ft. non-grooved concrete runway. Nolan Law Group attorney and commercial airline pilot, Chuck Barnett points out; “that after a heavy rainfall, non-grooved runways are more likely to retain standing water than grooved runways”.

According to the FAA, a runway is considered “contaminated” when standing water, ice, snow, slush, frost in any form, heavy rubber, or other substances are present. These contaminated runways, in turn, increase the probability that the tires of an aircraft will hydroplane.

The NTSB, in its investigation is likely to consider whether or not contaminated runway conditions or hydroplaning contributed to the crash of the Hawker 800.

Additionally operations on shorter runways that are contaminated with standing water are more likely to result in inadequate braking distances for some aircraft. Braking distances and other safety concerns relating to an attempted landing necessitate an adequate runway safety area (“RSA”) for a proper margin of safety.

The FAA defines an RSA as: “A defined surface surrounding the runway prepared, or suitable, for reducing the risk of damage to airplanes in the event of an undershoot, overshoot, or excursion from the runway.” Runway 12/30 at the Degner Regional Airport has a length of 5,500 feet and the RSA is still TBD.

NTSB board member Steven Chealander confirmed that the aircraft’s right wing hit an antenna 1000 feet past the end of the runway. He stated: “At about a thousand feet there was a localizer antenna which is part of the navigation system of this airport and the right wing of the plane hit that localizer antenna and at that point that’s where the accident sequence started.”

The issues of whether there was an adequate RSA and whether an ILS antenna was too close to the end of the runway are also likely to be considered by the NTSB in its investigation of the crash.

Aircraft Information

The airplane involved in the accident was a BAe.125 Series 800B, commonly referred to as a Hawker 800. The airplane was manufactured as serial number 258186. (25 relates to the model, 8 refers to the derivative and 186 to the production number) The airplane was first registered to British Aerospace, Plc in the United Kingdom on September 17, 1990 under British registration G-BSUL. The aircraft was later registered in Bermuda and then re-registered in the UK to Raytheon Corporate Jets, Inc., before being exported to the United States on May 4, 1994.

The accident airplane was first registered to MVA Aircraft Leasing in 2003 and remained registered to it under FAA registration N818MV through and including the date of the accident on July 31, 2008.

Prior to August 1, 1995, and including the time at which the accident airplane was manufactured, the UK was considered the State of Design and the State of Manufacture of the BAe.125 Series 800B model airplanes, and such airplanes were approved by the FAA under Type Certificate No. A3EU in accordance with FAA regulations governing imported products. On August 1, 995, Raytheon Aircraft Company became the holder of Type Certificate No. A3EU and the FAA accepted, on behalf of the United States, status as the State of design and State of Manufacture of all model airplanes under that Type Certificate.

On March 26, 2007, Raytheon Aircraft Company transferred Type Certifcate No. A3EU to Hawker Beechcraft Corporation, 9709 East Central, Wichita Kansas 67206. Hawker Beechcraft remains the Type Certicate holder to this day, and as such, has certain obligations for the continued airworthiness of all airplanes covered under that Type Certificate pursuant to the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).

Raytheon hawker 800a

Operator Information

The Hawker 800A was operated by East Coast Jets, of Allentown, Pennsylvania. The plane was reportedly added to East Coast Jets fleet in September 2007, bringing their fleet to a total of 11 planes. East Coast Jets operates out of Lehigh Valley International Airport and offers premium jet charter service and aircraft management. The aircraft was chartered by Revel Entertainment to transport employees to Owatonna, MN from Atlantic City, NJ.

Small Jet Crashes in Minnesota; at Least 8 Killed

OWATONNA, Minn. (AP) _ A small jet crashed in strong thunderstorms Thursday while preparing to land at a regional airport in Minnesota, killing at least eight people, including several casino and construction executives.

Sheriff Gary Ringhofer said there were at most nine people aboard the Raytheon Hawker 800, which went down at a regional airport about 60 miles south of the Twin Cities. He said investigators were looking into whether there was a passenger who is unaccounted for.

Seven people were dead at the scene. One died later at a hospital.

Atlantic City Mayor Scott Evans told The Associated Press that those on board included two high-ranking executives from Revel Entertainment, which is building a $2 billion hotel-casino project in Atlantic City, and several employees of Tishman Construction, which is working on the project. He didn’t know their identities, but said Revel CEO Kevin DeSanctis was not on board.

Bud Perrone, a spokesman for Tishman, identified one of the victims as Karen Sandland, a project manager on the Revel project who worked out of Tishman’s Newark, N.J., office. He said the company thinks Sandland was the only Tishman employee on board, but that it was trying to confirm that.

Lauren Avellino Turton, a spokesperson for Revel, confirmed in a written statement that several company employees were killed in the crash, although she didn’t identify those killed or say how many were on board.

“Revel is mourning the loss of several of its team members,” the statement read. “The design team was heading to Minnesota for a glass manufacturing meeting.”

The charter jet, flying from from Atlantic City, N.J., to Owatonna, a town of 25,000, went down in a cornfield northwest of Degner Regional Airport, scattering debris, Ringhofer said. The wreckage was not visible to reporters because tall corn obscured the crash site.

Cameron Smith, a mechanic at the airport, said he spoke by radio with the jet’s pilot just minutes before the crash. The pilot was about to land and was asking where he should park for fuel, Smith said.

He ran to the crash scene to see if anyone could be helped, but saw only a long skid path and debris that he described as “shredded.”

“I was amazed to hear that someone survived,” he said. “There was no fuselage. There were just parts.”

Quinn Johnson, an assistant manager at a restaurant about three miles from the airport, didn’t see the crash, but heard it. She initially thought it was a tornado.

“It lasted, I’m guessing, probably 15, 20 seconds, maybe slightly longer than that. It was a really, really loud, kind of a rumbling, screechy type noise,” Johnson said.

The crash happened as severe weather battered parts of southern Minnesota. An hour before the accident, a 72 mph wind gust was reported in Owatonna, according to the National Weather Service.

Both Smith and Johnson said the crash happened after the worst of the storm had passed, with the sky clearing and only light rain.

The plane had been scheduled to land at 9:42 a.m., then take off at 11:40 a.m. for Crossville, Tenn.

Viracon earlier this year was awarded a contract to supply glass to the World Trade Center replacement project. The company’s president, Don Pyatt, told the Owatonna People’s Press that the customers were from “a couple of different companies” who were coming to the plant to discuss a project in Las Vegas.

Pyatt gave no other details, and didn’t return a call from The Associated Press.

Mary Ann Jackson, a spokeswoman for Viracon’s parent company Apogee Enterprises Inc., confirmed to the AP that those on board were Viracon customers, but declined to provide any other details. She said no Viracon employees were involved in the crash.

The airport lies alongside Interstate 35 as it skirts Owatonna’s western edge. The airport’s Web site describes it as “ideal for all classes of corporate aircraft use” with an all-weather instrument landing system. “Maintaining access to Owatonna’s business community in all weather conditions is a priority,” the site says.

Sharon Gordon, a spokeswoman for the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which operates Atlantic City International Airport, said the East Coast Jets plane landed at the airport at 7:10 a.m. from its base in Allentown, Pa.

It picked up several passengers, although there is confusion about how many actually got in the plane, she said.

“We really don’t know the total amount,” she said. “It turned around very quickly, leaving at 8:13 a.m., and required no services on the ground.”

Toni Evans, an executive assistant for the SOSH architectural firm in Atlantic City, said at least some of those on board the plane were affiliated with the company, though none were company employees.

“They were from a couple of different companies,” she said. “We’ve been asked not to say anything further about it at this point. We don’t know who survived and who didn’t.”

She said the people affiliated with the firm were New Jersey residents.

SOSH specializes in designing casino projects. It is helping design the $2 billion Revel Entertainment casino-hotel project in Atlantic City, and the $333 million Buffalo Creek casino-hotel project in upstate New York for the Seneca Nation, among other projects.

The Associated Press, 07/31/2008

Associated Press writer Wayne Parry in Atlantic City, N.J. contributed to this report.

Peruvian Government Insubstantial Report Not Surprising, Peruvian Government Issues Final Report for TANS Peru Crash August 23, 2005

Chicago The government of Peru has issued their final report of the TANS airlines Boeing 737-244 accident official investigation from August 23 2005. (Click link for full report) The vague report concludes pilot error and adverse weather conditions contributed to the crash which killed 45 people and injured the other 55 passengers. The report notes the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) had nothing usable to determine the cause of the crash and is still being held as what many see as the to determining what really happened.

On August 23, 2005, a TANS (Transportes Aeros Nacionales de la Selva) Boeing 737-200 with 100 people on board (92 passengers, 8 crew) was flying from Lima to Pucallpa, Peru, a popular tourist destination 840 kilometers (520 miles) northeast of the capital, when it crashed on approach to landing during turbulent weather conditions.

On April 4, 2006 Nolan Law Group served the Peruvian Government with 29 petitions, signed by survivors or families of the victims. These petitions requested the government of Peru, through its Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission (Comision de Investigacion de Accidentes Aereos), exercise its discretion under Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation to release the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and the flight data recorder tapes. The Peruvian Government has refused to honor the request.

On May 31, 2006 Nolan Law Group filed lawsuits on behalf of six members of the Vivas family from New York, one Peruvian survivor and the father of a six month old baby who was killed in the crash. The plaintiffs complaints include two counts each against Boeing and United Technologies Company (operating as Pratt Whitney) alleging negligence and product liability and one count against TANS Peru alleging negligence.

“This unreleased evidence is vital in determining the actual cause of the crash and who may be” said Donald J. Nolan of Nolan Law Group regarding the withheld CVR and FDR. “Given the myriad of unanswered questions in the report, this is precisely a case that requires full disclosure” offers Nolan.

The final report indicates that the accident airplane was equipped with a ground proximity warning system (GPWS) and that a wind shear detection device was added to the airplane three months prior to the accident. With both of these systems in place, the pilots should have received warnings prior to the plane crashing. For example, the audible warnings of “wind shear, wind shear” and “terrain, terrain” would have alerted pilots under proper conditions. However, the final report states that investigators were not able to verify the functionality of this equipment, leading to speculation that perhaps the GPWS was not working properly.

Under international treaty, the investigation if the TANS Peru crash was lead by the government of Peru. The Peruvian investigators faced numerous constraints such as lack of funding and resources. These types of constraints limit the ability of investigators to perform proper testing and analysis and preclude their access to resources and independent experts.

Acknowledging the inevitable constraints of a governmental investigation, Nolan notes that his firm “stands ready to have all of the factual information and data analyzed and tested by the best available experts in order to provide the victims and their families with full and complete answers.”

To date, however, the government of Peru, which through (FONAFE) indirectly owns the stock of TANS Peru, has refused to provide the victims and their families with any of the factual information and data related to the crash. “We simply want access to factual information; you have to wonder why they won’t give us that.”

About Nolan Law Group

Nolan Law Group helps individuals and families, in Chicago and around the world, after a tragic loss or serious personal injury. The law firm focuses its practice primarily on mass tort aviation and closed brain injury litigation.

Nolan Law Group is one of small number of law firms with a niche in the highly complex and ever-changing area of aviation litigation and is active all over the world. With regard to traumatic brain injury litigation, Nolan Law Group has pioneered the use of sophisticated technology to demonstrate the extent of brain damage that can occur as a result of accidents.

The firm has earned recognition by the legal industry leading authority, Martindale-Hubbell, for impeccable professional ethics and for legal abilities of the highest caliber.

Unsaved – The Deadly Medical Helicopter Accident Record

On the flight to or from the hospital, one should not run the greater risk of maiming or death. Yet that is precisely the mortal dilemma, based on two fatal accidents involving emergency medical service (EMS) helicopters in June.

2 Medical Choppers Collide Near Arizona Hospital, Leaving 6 Dead and 1 Critically Injured

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona (AP) _ A helicopter ferrying a patient with a medical emergency from the Grand Canyon collided into another chopper carrying a patient near a northern Arizona hospital, leaving six people dead and critically injuring a nurse. Continue Reading