Families of 2001 air crash victims settle lawsuit
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.(AP) "” The families of five National Guardsmen killed four years ago when their transport plane crashed in Georgia settled their lawsuit against the aircraft's manufacturers on Monday.
The families will receive $3.75 million from the companies that made and maintained the C-23 Sherpa cargo plane and its parts: Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. and its subsidiary, Short Brothers PLC; Duncan Aviation of Lincoln, Neb.; and Rockwell International of Milwaukee and its former subsidiary Rockwell Collins.
Twenty-one Guardsmen died when the plane crashed near Macon, Ga., on a flight from north Florida to Virginia in March 2001. Families of the 16 other victims are represented in two other lawsuits, which have not been settled.
A three-member crew from the Florida Army National Guard was flying 18 members of the Virginia Air National Guard home after a two-week training mission in Florida.
Military investigators attributed the crash to improper loading by the crew, but the general who ordered the probe later blamed bad weather and equipment malfunctions.
The plane was made in Northern Ireland by Short and then converted for military use by Bombardier. The lawsuit claimed the plane's new configuration had not been tested, and the weather radar was not working properly.
"These modifications had a substantial effect on the stability of the aircraft, yet the design was never fully tested and the National Guard was never warned of the potentially catastrophic problems," said Bob Spohrer, a pilot and aircraft accident attorney who helped represent the families.
Bombardier attorney Ron Sprague said: "I think it was a reasonable settlement. It was certainly a tragic accident."
Attorneys for Duncan Aviation and Rockwell Collins did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Thanks for the article CD. God that was tragic.
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