Parents of man who died in EPA plane crash file suit

August 18, 2010 10:10:55 AM PDT
The parents of a man who died in a plane crash in East Palo Alto in February filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging that the plane's pilot, who also died in the crash, was negligent for taking off even though heavy fog created dangerous conditions.

The suit was filed by Paul and Barbara Ingram, the parents of 31-year-old Andrew Ingram of Palo Alto, and seeks unspecified damages from 56-year-old pilot Douglas Bourn and the company he ran, Air Unique Inc.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the twin-engine Cessna 310 that Bourn was piloting struck power lines and a tower at 7:54 a.m. on Feb. 17.

The plane was about 50 feet above the ground and had just departed from the Palo Alto Municipal Airport. It was heading to Hawthorne, Calif.

All the three men on the plane - Ingram, Bourn and 42-year-old Brian Finn of East Palo Alto - died in the crash. They all worked for Tesla Motors.

No one on the ground was injured.

The suit, which was filed in San Mateo County Superior Court by Burlingame attorney Frank Pitre, alleges that, "This crash was foreseeable and avoidable had the owner and operator of the aircraft (Bourn) demonstrated concern for the safety of his passengers, instead of blatant disregard for his lack of recent flying experience, poor weather and the condition of his aircraft before deciding to embark on a risky take-off."

The suit says, "Bourn knew that the airport and surrounding area was shrouded in dense fog, with visibility limited to one-eighth of a mile."

It also alleges that Bourn was warned on two separate occasions by an air traffic controller at the Palo Alto airport that he was not cleared for take-off "because the runway was not visible."


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