Nov 26

Midway Couple Files Lawsuit Against Airline After Plane Crashes Into Home

The elderly couple have experienced “severe emotional distress” after a small cargo plane crashed into their home last week, their attorney said.

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CHICAGO — The elderly couple whose home near Midway was hit by a plane last week filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the airline that owns the plane.

The couple, Roberta Rolinskas, 82, and Raymond Rolinskas, 84, were not physically injured when a small cargo plane owned by Central Airlines Inc. crashed into their home last Tuesday. The plane missed them by a mere eight inches, according to authorities. Eric Howlett, 47, the pilot of the plane, however, was killed.

But they have been under “severe emotional distress” since the incident, according to their lawyer, Matthew Jenkins of Corboy Demetrio, which filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court Tuesday. The plane also severely damaged their home, tearing through living room and bedroom walls and crushing their belongings.

“While thankfully Roberta and Raymond did not suffer any physical harm, the emotional trauma has been devastating to them,” said Jenkins. “Hearing, seeing and feeling an airplane crashing just inches away from them has caused severe emotional distress.”

Without naming the pilot, the lawsuit alleges Central Airlines “failed to execute a proper take-off … a proper landing … [and] to maintain sufficient altitude.” The company also “failed to properly maintain the airplane … inspect the airplane … and control the airplane,” the suit claims.

Jenkins has obtained a protective order to preserve the plane wreckage as well as radar reports, voice recordings, general maintenance records and communication records between Air Traffic Control and the pilot.

The small cargo plane departed from Midway at 2:42 last Tuesday and was heading toward Ohio State University Airport when it crashed into the couple’s home in the 6500 block of South Knox Avenue, according to Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Cory said that the plane was originally headed for Chicago Executive Airport in north suburban Waukegan before the pilot altered its flight plan to head for the Ohio airport.

The pilot died in the crash, but the couple living in the home escaped unharmed, authorities said.

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The pilot reported engine problems a few minutes after takeoff with the Aero Commander 500 plane. He tried to return to Midway but crashed about a quarter-mile from the airport, according to Cory.

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Nov 26

Lawsuit filed by elderly couple who escaped home in Midway plane crash

An elderly couple who narrowly escaped when a small cargo plane crashed into their home is suing the airline company.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by Roberta and Raymond Rolinskas, 82 and 84, against Central Airlines, which owned the plane that plowed into their home near Midway Airport in the 6500 block of South Knox Avenue on Nov. 18.

“The emotional trauma has been devastating to them,” their lawyer, Matthew Jenkins, said in a statement. “Hearing, seeing and feeling an airplane crashing just inches away from them has caused severe emotional distress.” 

The suit accuses the company of negligence and seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

Eric Howlett, 47, had just taken off from Midway Airport about 2:45 a.m. when he radioed the control tower that he was “having trouble with the left engine,” according to a preliminary report on the crash released this week.

Howlett, 47, was cleared to return to Midway when he dropped from the radar about half a mile from the runway, according to the report by the National Transportation Safety Board. His twin-engine Aero Commander crashed into the couple’s brick home and missed their bedroom by inches. He died on the scene.

Both Rolinskases suffered injuries, according to the lawsuit. The Chicago Fire Department at the time of the crash said the pair declined to be taken to hospitals.

Howlett was cleared to take off from Runway 31C at Midway at 2:38 a.m., according to the NTSB report. About two minutes later, he radioed about the engine trouble and asked to return, the report states. Howlett was flying at about 800 feet when he set a southwest course back to Midway “on a downwind traffic pattern,” the report said.

Fire Chief: Plane crash was about 8 inches away from homeowners

Caption Fire Chief: Plane crash was about 8 inches away from homeowners Chicago Deputy Fire Chief Michael Fox said the couple inside the home where the small plane crashed was very lucky. The crash was about 8 inches away from them. Chicago Deputy Fire Chief Michael Fox said the couple inside the home where the small plane crashed was very lucky. The crash was about 8 inches away from them.

NTSB Air Safety Investigator details next steps in crash

Caption NTSB Air Safety Investigator details next steps in crash Tim Sorensen, NTSB Air Safety Investigator, details the next steps in recovering the pilot’s body and analyzing the scene. Tim Sorensen, NTSB Air Safety Investigator, details the next steps in recovering the pilot’s body and analyzing the scene.

Plane crashes near Midway

Caption Plane crashes near Midway A small twin-engine plane crashed into a home on the Southwest Side near Midway Airport early Tuesday. A small twin-engine plane crashed into a home on the Southwest Side near Midway Airport early Tuesday.

Chicago Fire Chief discusses initial plane crash reports

Caption Chicago Fire Chief discusses initial plane crash reports Chicago Fire Chief Michael Fox said crews were called to the scene at 2:45 am, and the first company found a small two-engine plane had crashed into a 1 1/2 story frame house. Chicago Fire Chief Michael Fox said crews were called to the scene at 2:45 am, and the first company found a small two-engine plane had crashed into a 1 1/2 story frame house.

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The final radar reading of Howlett’s plane was at 2:42 a.m. about a tenth of a mile from where he crashed, according to the report.

The plane hit the right side and front of the house, 8 inches from where the Rolinskases were sleeping in a bedroom on the left side of the home, according to neighbors and fire officials.

The plane had initially been headed for Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling. But Howlett made a last-minute change to the flight plan before takeoff and listed the destination as the Ohio State University Airport in Columbus, near the suburb of Groveport where he lived.

The NTSB report does not say what caused the crash, and the agency cautioned that some of the information in the preliminary report could change as the investigation continues.

Copyright © 2014, Chicago Tribune

Nov 26

National Transportation Safety Board Issues Report On Gilroy-Area Plane Crash

A single-engine plane that crashed and killed two passengers near
Gilroy on Nov. 8 collided accidentally with power lines and steep terrain,
according to a report released today by the National Transportation Safety
Board.

The two-seat Cessna 140A struck distribution power lines and
crashed into the terrain a few hundred feet away at about 3 p.m. Nov. 8 while
on a flight from Frazier Lake Airport in Hollister to Monterey Bay Academy
Airport in Watsonville, NTSB officials said.

[Previous:
Santa Clara County Coroner IDs Two Victims of Gilroy-Area Plane Crash.]

An NTSB investigation reported seeing groves from apparent contact
with a wire one of the plane’s wings and the propeller, which fell off of the
aircraft after it had crashed. “Braised wire striations were observed on the outboard area of the
right wing and propeller,” according to the report.

On Nov. 10, the Santa Clara County medical examiner’s office
identified the two passengers killed in the flight as Jon Richard Dennis, 69,
of Gilroy, and Kiely Renee Vaca, 18, of San Jose.

The pilot was the fixed-wing plane’s registered owner, identified
as Dennis, who was first issued a still-valid certification for it in 1991,
according to the registry of his plane the Federal Aviation Administration’s
website.

The flight of the Cessna, which took off from Hollister at about
2:30 p.m. Nov. 8, was a personal one for the pilot and a flight plan was not
filed, according to the NTSB.

[Previous:
No Survivors In Plane Crash In Rural Area East Of Gilroy.]

In the evening of Nov. 8, a member of Dennis’ family notified that
FAA of their concern that the plane carrying him and Vaca was overdue at the
Monterey Bay airport, federal officials said.

The FAA then issued an alert notification for the missing plane
and its wreckage was located in a heavily-wooded area about five miles north
of Frazier Lake airport by search and rescue personnel, the NTSB reported.

The NTSB’s investigator-in-charge who examined the accident site
determined the plane crashed into steep terrain and remained intact aside
from the propeller assembly that had fallen off near the main wreckage,
federal officials said.

The fronts of both of the wing were damaged, the tail of the plane
was still attached to the fuselage and the engine was pushed rearward into
the plane, the investigator reported.

The propeller assembly showed “that one if its blades had multiple
s-type bending and a small portion of the blade’s tip was missing,” officials
reported. “The other blade was slightly bent rearward.”

The investigator located evidence that the plane had struck power
lines a few hundred feet from where the aircraft when down.

The power lines “were found separated near their mid-spans,” the
investigator stated.

“The lines were supported by two wooden H-frame pole assemblies at
a distance of about 1,500 feet and spanned the valley below, about 300 feet
above ground level,” the official said.

Residents near the crash site “reported a power outage around the
time of the accident,” according to the report.

The wreckage was recovered and taken to a secure location for
further investigation, the official said.

–Bay City News

–Image via Shutterstock


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