Jet Owner Sues South Carolina Airport, Manufactuerr, Tire Company

February 2, 2009

The owner and operator of a private jet that crashed last year, killing four people, is suing the South Carolina airport, the plane’s manufacturer and a tire company.

Rock drummer Travis Barker and celebrity disc jockey DJ AM, whose real name is Adam Goldstein, were burned in the Sept. 19 crash that killed the pilot, co-pilot and two of Barker’s assistants.

The jet’s owner, Inter Travel & Services Inc. of Irvine, Calif., and the operator, Global Exec Aviation Inc. of Long Beach, Calif., are seeking more than $12 million in damages.

Federal investigators have not yet determined the cause of the crash, but aviation authorities have said cockpit recordings indicated the jet’s crew thought a tire had blown during takeoff. Investigators have said pieces of tire were recovered about 2,800 feet from where the plane started its takeoff down the 8,600-foot runway.

The suit contends that the design of the area beyond the runway at Columbia Metropolitan Airport also contributed to the seriousness of the crash: There was not enough room for the plane to stop, a fence and other equipment damaged the jet’s fuel tanks and the lowered roadway around the airport caused the plane to crash nose first into a raised embankment.

The suit also names Learjet Inc., Bombardier Aerospace Corp. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. as defendants.

The airport has denied the allegations in court papers.

Goodyear spokesman Ed Markey said Friday the company was disappointed the suit was filed before the National Transportation Safety Board completed its investigation.

“While the tires may have been involved, it is still too early to speculate on a cause,” Markey said. “The performance of a tire is dependent upon how the tire was used, if it was properly maintained and whether it was damaged before the accident.”

“It’s pretty common to have lawsuits filed after an incident,” said Leo Knaapen, spokesman for Learjet manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace. Knaapen would not comment specifically on the South Carolina case.

At least four other lawsuits have been filed after the crash, including ones by Barker and Goldstein in Los Angeles.


Information from: The State,

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