Widow sues over fatal plane collision in Saskatchewan
CALGARY – The widow of a man killed in a mid-air collision over central Saskatchewan has filed a multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit against the estates of the pilots of the two planes, who also died.
In her statement of claim, Bobby Joe Donovan of Blackie, Alta., alleges the May 12, 2012, crash that killed her husband and young son was caused by the negligence of the pilots.
Her lawsuit alleges that the pilots flew in planes that were in unsafe mechanical condition and had faulty warning systems.
It also claims both pilots failed to maintain a proper lookout for other aircraft.
Statements of claim contain allegations that have not been proven in court.
The people who died in the crash included her husband Eric Donovan and their 11-year-old son, Wade, both from Mossleigh, Alta.; and Donovan’s friend, pilot Denny Loree of Nanton, Alta.
The trio were flying to Saskatchewan to pick up agriculture machinery parts for Donovan’s farm.
The two people who died in the other aircraft were Robert Jackson and his wife Susan of Regina, who were en route to La Ronge, Sask.
The lawsuit is seeking damages for grief, loss of care and companionship, loss of income and other expenses.
Bobby Joe Donovan has three other children.
A Transportation Safety Board report into the crash involving a Piper PA 28 Arrow and a Lake 200 Buccaneer said each pilot had filed a visual flight rules flight plan.
Such a flight plan requires a pilot to be able to fly the plane by looking outside the windows for navigation and to see and avoid other aircraft and obstacles.
The report concluded that neither pilot likely saw the other until it was too late to avoid a collision.
“The converging position of the two aircraft relative to each other, coupled with physiological vision limitations, likely rendered visual detection extremely difficult,” reads the report.
“As a result, the available reaction time was reduced to a point where collision avoidance was not possible.”
The weather was sunny and clear near St. Brieux, northeast of Saskatoon, when the planes collided sometime after 8:40 a.m., the time when one of the planes was last detected on radar.
The report said parts of the wings from both aircraft were shorn off in mid-air, making them uncontrollable, which would have prevented the planes from recovering after the collision.
It said the aircraft had collision avoidance systems, but these could have been set to detection parameters that wouldn’t have given the pilots enough warning time.
There were no survivors.
Neither Donovan, her lawyer, or Loree’s widow, Joan Loree, were available for comment on the lawsuit.
© The Canadian Press, 2014