Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer Aviation Accidents in Alaska

  In Alaska, summer brings airplane accidents.  Part of this can be explained by the fact that there is more flying in the summer than in the winter.  Part of this can be explained by pilot errors in judgment because they want to go on their fishing or hunting trip.
  Yesterday was no exception.  See Homer Plane Accident Fatality.  A Cessna 206 on floats flown by an experienced pilot flipped in Beluga Lake in Homer.  The pilot and passengers were senior management employees from MEA, the electrical cooperative serving the Mat-Su Valley, on their way to a fishing trip.   Sadly, one of the passengers died with  the other passengers suffering injury.  
   Following aviation accidents, I often receive calls from surviving family or injured passengers.  My advice is consistent:
    1.  Focus on obtaining the right medical care for any injuries or grieving for the loss of a loved one.  For the most part, the circumstances surrounding the crash will be investigated by the NTSB and possibly the FAA.  On a personal level, in the greater scheme of life, the need for medical treatment or simply grieving trumps any other action. 
    2.   Alaska has a 2 year statute of limitations, one of the purposes of which is to allow medical treatment or grieving to occur.
    3.  There is no reason to talk to the air carrier's insurer until you have allowed time for medical treatment or grieving.  I have had several occasions where these conversations are used against the accident victim. 
    You have to play your hand smartly.  See