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Lanai plane crash victim's family sues airline

By Star-Advertiser & Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:21 p.m. HST, May 05, 2014

The sister of one of two Maui County Planning Department employees killed in an airplane crash on Lanai in February is suing the airline and the estate of the dead pilot.

Lawyers for Heather Shannon, sister of Kathleen Kern, filed the lawsuit in state court in Honolulu on  Friday.

The lawsuit names Maui Island Air and the estate of Richard Rooney as defendants.

Kern, Rooney and Tremaine Balberdi, another Maui County Planning employee, died Feb. 26 when their chartered, 10-seat airplane crashed and burst into flames in a former pineapple field shortly after takeoff from Lanai Airport. Three other Maui County employees survived the crash.

Richard Fried, an attorney for Kern's family, said Monday the lawsuit was the first filed over the crash.

Officials for Maui Island Air Inc., and Maui Aircraft Leasing LLC did not immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment from The Associated Press.

The airline markets itself online as Volcano Air Tours, offering charter tours of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park since 1993.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in March that the crash left a 640-foot-long debris field. The NTSB said in its preliminary report that visibility was clear despite the crash happening at night.

One of the survivors of the crash told a Transportation Security Administration official that the plane made an extreme bank to the right after taking off.

The crash led Maui County officials to reconsider how much its employees should travel by air to other islands. Lanai, which is mostly owned by Oracle Corp. billionaire Larry Ellison, and Molokai are part of the county.

Fried said Kern and other staff members usually commuted to Lanai by ferry but the charter flight was arranged because of a late meeting.

Kern, 50, was originally from Canada and pursued a longtime dream to live in Hawaii.

Lanai plane crash lawsuit

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Lanai plane crash victim's sister sues

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gobows wrote:
Why not sue the city and State as well? deep pockets
on May 5,2014 | 10:59AM
HIE wrote:
Because the city is not responsible for the operation (or negligent operation as the suit implies) of the aircraft and resulting crash. It's not simply about deep pockets. It's about accountability for the operation of the aircraft.
on May 5,2014 | 11:08AM
gobows wrote:
iF they didnt hold the meeting so late, knowing that they would have to fly back to Maui in the dark. why not utilize video conferencing? save money, save lives.
on May 5,2014 | 11:29AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Wasn't wind the cause of the accident? Not darkness.
on May 5,2014 | 11:50AM
HIE wrote:
That's not a cause of the crash. This is called the difference between logical and ridiculous.
on May 5,2014 | 12:59PM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
How would you paint them as liable in any part of this?
on May 5,2014 | 11:49AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
So she's hoping to get rich off her sister's death? The death master, Rick Fried is at work making a living off other people's death again. I'm surprised he's not suing a government agency too. He always goes for the deep pocket.
on May 5,2014 | 11:07AM
false wrote:
In case, you forgot, guess who owns Island Air now. Yeah, Larry Ellison, one of the richest guys on the planet. Talk about deep pockets. A lawyer's wet dream case.
on May 5,2014 | 11:19AM
gobows wrote:
if only it was an Island Air plane....but alas...it wasn't. No deep pockets there...unless they say the airport was partially at fault or the lack of technology at the airport played a role in why the plane went down.
on May 5,2014 | 11:31AM
salsacoquibx wrote:
exactly..not island air
on May 5,2014 | 11:59AM
lee1957 wrote:
Take a deep breath and read.
on May 5,2014 | 11:55AM
oldertimer808 wrote:
You should get your facts straight before making an off the wall comment.
on May 6,2014 | 09:22AM
salsacoquibx wrote:
it was only a matter of time..just have to wait for the rest to folow suit..
on May 5,2014 | 11:57AM
gobows wrote:
imagine if all those malaysian passenger's familes were to file suit
on May 5,2014 | 01:28PM
gobows wrote:
Maui Island Air must've not maintained the airplane
on May 5,2014 | 01:29PM
SueH wrote:
gobows, what makes you think the aircraft was improperly maintained? And even if it was, how did that have anything at all to do with the crash? The investigation so far has not shown any problem whatsoever due to improper maintenance. Are you clairvoyant, or maybe you should just take your foot out of your mouth before you speak.
on May 5,2014 | 10:02PM
kuewa wrote:
Unclear from this report how the sister has standing to file suit. Is she suing as an individual, as an executor of the estate, or in some other capacity? As an individual-only, she might have to explain her right to sue and collect $$.
on May 5,2014 | 02:30PM
HIE wrote:
It's extremely clear if you bother to read the included legal filing...
on May 5,2014 | 02:52PM
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