Federal investigators recently released their reports detailing the crash of the small plane that crashed in Willoughby Hills, Ohio last year, killing four college students. According to this investigation, the plane was overweight.
The Cessna Model 172R crashed only moments after taking off from Cuyahoga County Airport, according to the News-Herald of Ohio. All four people on board were students of Case Western Reserve University and were killed in the crash. These individuals were:
- Pilot William Michael Felten, 20, of Saginaw Michigan
- Abraham Pishevar II, 18, of Rockville, Maryland
- Lucas Vincent Marcelli, 20, of Massillon, Ohio
- John Hill, 18, of St. Simons, Georgia
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated that the maximum gross weight for the plane was 2,457 pounds. It was believed that at the time of the crash, the plane weighted either 2,550.6 pounds or 2,622.6 pounds—both of which exceed the maximum weight specified for the Cessna Model 172R.
Witnesses interviewed by investigators said that the pilot asked two of the passengers how much they weighed before taking off. He “performed some calculations in his head”, and determined that they would not exceed the weight limit for the plane.
Although the NTSB report did not specifically attribute the crash to the plane’s weight, it did note that “there were no anomalies” noted in the engine, propeller or other parts of the plane which may have hindered flight. It was also noted that the pilot did not have drugs or alcohol in his system.
The family of one victim, Abraham Pishevar, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner of the plane, the pilot’s fraternity at the university, the company that rented the plane, and the estate of the deceased pilot of the plane. Here, they allege that the pilot took the passengers on the flight in order to recruit them into the fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau, and that both the owner and the renter of the plane should have known that the pilot was not adequately experienced to fly the plane at night.
Airplane crashes are often catastrophic and it can be difficult to accurately investigate crash scenes to attribute fault in such situations. However, a skilled plane crash attorney can help victims and grieving families pursue justice as well as compensation for their damages and suffering. To learn more, please contact our experienced aviation attorneys for a free legal consultation.