Aviation disasters tend to end badly for all aboard the aircraft involved. Such was certainly the case for one Fontana resident, 36, who was a passenger in a single-engine Mooney M20K that crashed shortly before 2 p.m. on March 13, 2020. The accident happened northwest of Sylmar by the Sunshine Canyon Landfill.
The 77-year-old pilot also died in the plane crash.
Engine thought to have failed midair
The pilot and passenger left North Bend, Oregon, from Southwest Oregon Regional Airport earlier that morning en route to Van Nuys Airport. At approximately 1:50 p.m., witnesses in the area reported hearing problem noises coming from the plane’s engine. At that point, the airport lost radar contact with the plane and pilot.
Low visibility and difficult terrain were factors in the rescuers not reaching the crash site for several hours after the initial loss of contact.
Survivors file suit
The deceased passenger’s widow filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the estate of the pilot on behalf of her and the couple’s minor daughter. Plaintiffs allege that the pilot “negligently, carelessly, recklessly, unskillfully … maintained, operated, controlled and flew (the plane) so as to proximately cause the (aircraft) to crash thereby causing the death of [the passenger].” The estate’s representative also was named in the civil suit.
The suit lists both strict and negligent products liability as well as negligence on the part of the pilot. There is no claim of foreknowledge of any mechanical defects with the plane.
Act before a case proscribes
Plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death cases have but two years to file suit from the date the accident and/or injury occurred. Failing to timely file your case with the civil courts in California means that the door to compensation remains forever closed.