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Judge Tosses Arkansas Plane Crash Lawsuit On A Technicality

Plaintiff's Attorney Did Not Present Compelling Evidence At Trial

A judge in Washington County, AR, has thrown out a lawsuit stemming from an aviation accident because the plaintiff did not present sufficient evidence about the accident's cause.

The Associated Press reports that according to the Northwest Arkansas Times, Judge Joanna Taylor dismissed the case because the attorney for plaintiff Barry Giblow did not offer sufficient evidence for the trial to continue.

According to the NTSB's probable cause report, while on final approach to the destination airport, the airplane experienced a loss of engine power. The airplane impacted terrain in a nose low attitude and came to rest adjacent to a fence, several hundred yards short of the runway, resulting in substantial damage. During the recovery of the airplane a total of 1.75 gallons of fuel was recovered from both wing fuel tanks. The fuel tanks had not been compromised and had an unusable fuel total of 3 gallons. The commercial pilot reported to law enforcement personnel that they had not refueled prior to the return flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause of the accident to be the pilot’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

The NTSB report is not admissible as evidence in a court of law.

While the NTSB said fuel management was the issue, each person on board the airplane told the agency that the other was acting as PIC of the Cessna 150 when it went down. Giblow had sued Jimmy Crawford, the other person on board, for $250,000. Both are certified pilots.

Giblow's attorney asked the judge to allow him to re-open the case at a later date, but she said state law does not allow her to take that action.

FMI: www.co.washington.ar.us

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