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Plane crash survivor sues

Lawsuit targets Keystone Air, dead pilot's estate

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The crash of a twin-engine Piper Navajo Chieftain into a frozen lake in 2012 left the pilot and three passengers dead.

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The crash of a twin-engine Piper Navajo Chieftain into a frozen lake in 2012 left the pilot and three passengers dead. Photo Store

The sole survivor of a 2012 plane crash that killed four people, including the pilot, is suing Keystone Air Service and the pilot's estate for damages.

In a statement of claim filed last week, Brian Shead is suing Keystone Air Service and the estate of pilot Fariborz Abasabady for damages he suffered in the crash on Jan. 10, 2012, which killed Abasabady and three passengers.

Shead claims he received numerous injuries in the crash, including facial cuts with permanent scarring, multiple nose fractures, five chipped teeth and multiple left foot and ankle fractures resulting in a permanent reduction in range of motion.

Shead could not be reached for comment.

Anthony Lafontaine Guerra, Shead's lawyer, said his client was not commenting.

"Our condolences and sympathy go out to those whose lives were forever changed by the incident of Jan. 10, 2012," Guerra said on Monday.

According to court documents, Shead was able to get out of the plane, which caught fire after slamming into the frozen lake, and pull out the pilot, but wasn't able to get anyone else out before the flames consumed the wreckage.

Shead is suing for several items, including pain and suffering, the 30 days of wages he lost, future cost of care, and his personal belongings that were destroyed in the crash, including his laptop, glasses, jeans and winter jacket.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada released its crash-investigation report in November concluding pilot inexperience, icing conditions and a blizzard were some of the factors that caused the twin-engine Piper Navajo Chieftain to crash two kilometres shy of the runway.

The TSB's Peter Hildebrand said the flight, which left Winnipeg at 7:51 a.m., bound for Deer Lake, Ont. with a stop at North Spirit Lake, was routine until the pilot found an airport worker was still clearing snow off the runway from an overnight blizzard.

Hildebrand said the pilot decided to circle in conditions that led to icing on the wing instead of going to another destination or flying above the clouds.

Hildebrand said despite the fire after the crash, investigators still found ice on part of the wing.

"The pilot, anxious to complete the flight successfully, likely did not appreciate the extent of the aircraft's limitations in icing conditions and believed that the best option was to continue to (North Spirit Lake) and hold once the runway was clear," he said.

An official at Keystone could not be reached for comment.

No statement of defence has been filed and the allegations have not been proven in court.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 14, 2014 A2

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