A West Vancouver businessman is among six plane crash survivors who have launched a suit against the airline behind a doomed charter flight that crashed in Richmond 15 months ago.
Jeffery McCord is one of six passengers suing Northern Thunderbird Air for damages, blaming the negligence of the company and flight crew for injuries suffered in the crash.
McCord and the other passengers were pulled out of the wreckage to safety by passersby after the small Beechcraft plane crashed near Vancouver International Airport Oct. 27, 2011 as the pilot attempted to land.
North Vancouver pilot Luc Fortin, 44, and first-officer Matt Robic, 26, of Mission, were trapped in the wreckage after the plane burst into flames. They were eventually rescued, but both men died in hospital after suffering severe burns.
According to a statement of claim filed Friday in B.C. Supreme Court, McCord suffered cuts to his head and face, a fractured spine, post-concussion syndrome, loss of cognitive function and psychological injuries.
Five other passengers - Ruben Cohen, Kelly Jablonski, Cameron and Lorelei Sobolik and Troy Zanatta - also detailed injuries in the lawsuit ranging from head injuries, burns and smoke inhalation to broken bones and paralysis.
Carolyn Cross - the North Vancouver owner of a biomedical technology company - is the only passenger who hasn't joined the lawsuit. Cross could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
In their lawsuit, the six other passengers blame the flight crew for the crash, saying they were negligent for taking off despite seeing leaking oil that had been pointed out to them under the plane's wing.
Passengers could see oil streaming from the left engine of the plane and on to the wing as the plane returned to Vancouver International Airport, the documents state.
In the lawsuit, the passengers blame the flight crew for not declaring an emergency and for decreasing the speed of the plane to the point where they couldn't control the aircraft. As a result, the King Air 100 rolled hard to the left, plummeted towards the ground, then slid across the road and burst into the flames, court documents state.
In the lawsuit, the passengers blame the airline for failing to adequately maintain the plane, not training the flight crew well enough on emergency procedures, and operating a plane that lacked an electrical cut-off switch to reduce the risk of fire after a crash. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
An interim report on the crash issued a year ago by the Transportation Safety Board said the engine of the Northern Thunderbird aircraft never lost power before crashing. There also appeared to be no mechanical failure involved in the accident, according to the report.
Fortin, the pilot, struggled to control the plane and managed to level the wings and pull the nose up slightly in the final seconds of the flight, according to the report. But it was too late.
A full report on the crash is expected sometime this spring from the Transportation Safety Board.
A spokesman from Northern Thunderbird Air said Tuesday the company was aware of the lawsuit but had no comment.