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NTSB report: Fatal Kansas crash due to pilot and FAA errors

A law may not be broken when someone hesitates to prevent a safety hazard, but failure to correct the problem still can result in tragedy. The attitude of "that's good enough" isn't good enough simply because no rules are broken. Negligence includes knowing a dangerous situation might happen and doing nothing to prevent harm that might occur.

What motivates a person or business to dismiss safety issues? Think about the Kansas driver who is aware his car tires are going bald but puts off buying new ones until there's a great tire sale. Consider a company executive whose job entails cost cutting. Do you think a manager whose paycheck revolves around profits might not prioritize worker safety? Fatal accidents are possible when decisions are based on taking poor risks.

A small plane with five people aboard crashed on landing in southeastern Kansas last year. The Neosho County crash killed four people, ages 22 to 29, and injured a woman pulled from the wreckage by a victim who later died.

Federal transportation officials spent about a year studying the Chanute accident to determine the cause. National Transportation Safety Board investigators concluded smoke from a burning cabin heater likely obscured the pilot's vision and prevented a safe landing.

Inspectors learned the faulty heater was inspected about a year before the accident. During an insurer-mandated test flight a month prior to the crash, a warning light flashed when the heater was activated. The device shut down. A flight instructor later briefed the pilot about the circuit breaker, but the heater problem apparently was never resolved.

The NTSB concluded the pilot may have been ignorant of the heater's potential danger. The government agency pointed fingers at the Federal Aviation Administration for failure to provide distinct heater inspection guidelines.

Aviation accidents may be caused by direct or indirect factors. Clear evidence of negligence is vital to victims' liability claims.

Source:, "NTSB: Cabin Heater To Blame For Kansas Plane Crash That Killed ORU Grads" Richard Clark, Sep. 06, 2013

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