The aviation accident attorneys at Bohrer & Lukeman are monitoring a small airplane crash that took place this week in Esperance, New York near the state capital of Albany. The Piper PA-28 airplane crashed in a wooded area near the Hogan Airport after it flew only 1,000 feet from the airport.
The airplane burned in the woods and was destroyed by the fire, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Three of the four passengers were killed in the crash and the fourth was taken to Albany Medical Center with severe burns.
"It sounded like the engines lost power and that the plane started to decrease in the air," said Esperance Fire Chief Matthew Deffer. "And it went down into the trees and that's when we received the call."
According to News 10, a local NBC affiliate, New York State Police and National Transportation Safety Board investigators working together to investigate the small airplane crash. The investigators are pulling records and gathering information in an effort to understand what exactly caused the airplane to crash so quickly after takeoff. Recovering the aircraft could take a couple of days because it is located in a swampy area, according to NTSB investigator-in-charge Millicent Hoidal.
The air strip is a privately owned airport that straddles the border between Schoharie and Montgomery counties. According to officials, the plane was headed home to Connecticut after the passengers attended a party with the airport’s owners.
One of the passengers killed was the senior director of broadcasting business affairs from Major League Baseball. The 48-year-old woman was one of the longest tenured employees at MLB. Her husband was also killed in the crash.
This Piper airplane crash is just one of a series of small airplane crashes in recent months, including a crash in Houston that involved the same model airplane. The Houston crash resulted in the death of all four passengers.
According to The Wall Street Journal, small airplanes pose higher risks to passengers because the rules are looser for amateur pilots, who don’t need to log as many hours as airline pilots in order to be certified. Similarly, small airplanes often land and take off from small airports with less manicured runways.
Yet, not all crashes are rooted in pilot error. A 2014 USA Today investigation revealed “wide-ranging defects have persisted for years as manufacturers covered up problems, lied to federal regulators and failed to remedy known malfunctions.”
The cause of the Albany area airplane crash is not yet known. Federal authorities, including the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, are investigating the crash in order to determine what could have caused the airplane to go down.
There have been two other plane crashes in Esperance, New York since 1982. According to the NTSB, a low-flying plane crashed after hitting unmarked wires in 2001, killing two passengers. In 2005, one person was injured when a plane collided with a rock while taking off.
The airplane accident lawyers at the Bohrer & Lukeman law firm will closely monitor any developments associated with the investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
The New York-based law firm has extensive experience in general aviation, airplane crash, and aircraft accident law. Abe Bohrer, the firm’s founder, is an aviation accident lawyer with a thorough understanding of airplane crash litigation. He has successfully defended clients involved in airplane crashes and airplane accidents.
The airplane accident law firm will update its website at www.flightinjury.com with any updates from the Albany area airplane crash.