This morning, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the results of an investigation into the crash of a twin-engine private jet into a home in Maryland, killing all onboard and a mother and two young children huddled in the house. The Washington Post reports that, despite the pilot’s extensive experience, officials say that he had received an electronic stall warning in time to have saved the plane, and they also say this was not the first plane he crashed.
On December 8, 2014, Pilot Michael Rosenberg, 66, was flying an Embraer EMB-500/Phenom 100 twin jet engine plane in icy conditions. Just a half-mile from the runway in Gaithersburg, Maryland, his plane stalled and crashed into a home. Rosenberg, two of his passengers, and three people in the home were killed.
The NTSB says that “weather data indicate that the accident flight encountered clouds and was exposed to structural icing conditions while descending into the Gaithersburg area. There were numerous reports of ice from pilots flying in the area, and the accident pilot [Rosenberg] indicated that he was still in the clouds almost 15 minutes after entering them.” The voice and data recorder recovered from the wreckage recorded an automated cockpit warning chanting “stall-stall-stall-stall” just before the plane went down. As the plane approached the runway, it lost speed and was not traveling fast enough to land safely there. It went into an aerodynamic stall near the Gemmell home and crashed into the residence.
The crash of the plane caused a massive fire, and the bodies of Marie Gemmell, 36, and her sons Cole, 3, and Devin, an infant, were found huddled together in a second-floor bathroom where they were overcome with smoke. Passengers David Hartman, 52, and Chijioke Ogbuka, 31, also died in the crash.
Though Rosenberg was a highly qualified pilot with 4,500 hours of logged flight time and certifications as a commercial pilot and flight instructor, this was not the first time he crashed a plane in the area. In 2010, he was flying into the Gaithersburg airport and also heard stall warnings as he touched a single-engine plane down on the runway. The plane drifted, and he attempted a lift-off for another try at landing. However, the plane instead drifted roughly 100 feet and crashed into some trees. Rosenberg had minor injuries. The NTSB ruled that pilot error was the cause of the crash.
This story is proof that no matter how much training a pilot may have, it only takes a moment to make an error that could be fatal. When airline or plane pilots make mistakes and cause injury or death to passengers or bystanders, it is possible for victims to pursue compensation for their suffering and damages in a plane crash or aviation lawsuits. To learn more, please contact our experienced aviation attorneys for a free legal consultation.