The Oahu Parachute Center, its owner, and many others were recently named in a lawsuit over the 2019 fatal plane crash that killed 11 people.
It’s been roughly two years since 11 people were killed in a plane crash on the north coast of Oahu. Now representatives of five of these victims are suing the Oahu Parachute Center and the owner George Rivera, the Hawaii Parachute Center, State of Hawaii, the aircraft owner N80896, William Garcia, Robert Perez Seladis and 70 people and organizations that could not be identified by the plaintiffs . “
Hammer; Image courtesy of Bloomsberries, via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0, no changes made.
The lawsuit alleges that the Oahu Parachute Center “acted negligently in breach of duty of care by operating the aircraft inconsiderately and unsafely, failing to claim that the aircraft was in an airworthy condition, pilots and mechanics of the aircraft In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the Oahu Parachute Center and Hawaii Parachute Center received numerous complaints about unsafe and dangerous skydiving operations prior to the June 21, 2019 crash.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of “passenger skydiver Nikolas Glebov, tandem parachute instructor Daniel Herndon, cameraman Casey Williamson and the” fun jumpers “Joshua Drablos and Jordan Tehero.”
When asked about the tragedy in 2019, Rivera said he had “received verbal approval from the Department of Transportations (DOT) to go skydiving.” However, the lawsuit argues that the oral authorization “violated the rules in force”. It is also important to note that the aircraft involved in the accident “partially broke up in the air over the San Francisco Bay Area in 2016”. Following this particular incident, the aircraft “underwent major repairs while owned and operated by N80896, LLC and doing business under the fictional name Skydive Sacramento.”
After the repair, the aircraft was leased to the Hawaii Parachute Center and Rivera. From June 18, 2017 to June 21, 2019, the aircraft was operated in Hawaii. When asked why he leased the plane and knew it was damaged in California, Rivera said:
“When I first saw the plane, it was disassembled in a coat hanger in California and the entire tail unit of the plane was rebuilt, rebuilt with brand new cables. The whole thing was rebuilt. I thought this is a good plane. First, the FAA would never have let it fly across the ocean if it hadn’t been in tip-top shape, they never would. So the plane had to pass all the phase inspections … you know, so it’s not like it’s in bad shape, there have never been any complaints during the entire operating process … To this day we don’t know exactly what happened. “
The lawsuit alleges that despite the repair, the aircraft was still dangerous due to a list of conditions that made it unsafe to fly. It is further argued that “Seladis, one of the defendants, performed the repair and maintenance of this aircraft several times over these years and the aircraft still crashed on June 21, 2019 despite its repair work.”
When asked if there was anything else he could have done to prevent the crash, Rivera said, “I don’t know, I don’t think so … because our policies and procedures that I put in place were correct.”
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