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Colson Hicks Filing Lawsuit for Venezuelan Plane Crash Victims

May 19, 2015
Colson Hicks Eidson

Juan Carlos Vetancourt De Lima and Francisco DiMarco Vegas were killed in a plane crash shortly after takeoff from Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 18, 2015) – Coral Gables-based law firm Colson Hicks Eidson filed two wrongful death complaints in the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in Miami-Dade County today on behalf of the families of Juan Carlos Vetancourt De Lima and Francisco DiMarco Vegas, the two passengers who were killed in a plane crash on Feb. 11 shortly after takeoff from Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport.

The lawsuits were filed on behalf of Elisa Herrera De Vetancourt and Yllen Colmenares, the victims’ widows, against Defendant Aeropanamericano, C.A, the owner of the Beech 1900C aircraft that flew into a utility pole, crashed into the ground and burned approximately two miles west of the runway killing all on board. Venezuela-based Aeropanamericano, C.A. is a subsidiary of The Brinks Company, a worldwide provider of secure logistics solutions.

According to the complaints, Vetancourt and Vegas were returning to their home country of Venezuela after traveling to Miami. They were invited guests and passengers on the Beech 1900C airplane powered by two propeller engines when it departed Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport. Two minutes after takeoff, one of the pilots reported an “engine failure” to air traffic control and asked to return to the airport. Witnesses reported the plane flying low and the left propeller turning slower than the right. In the course of attempting to return to the airport, the pilot flew into a utility pole just two miles from the runway, approximately three minutes after takeoff, causing the plane to crash into the ground and burn.

The complaints allege negligence on behalf of the owner, Aeropanamericano, as well as the pilots, who were employees and/or authorized agents of Aeropanamericano, citing they both had a duty to exercise due care in the operation of the aircraft at all times and to ensure the aircraft was in airworthy condition prior to flying with passengers on board. The lawsuits claim the pilots failed to exercise their duty of reasonable care and were negligent by (a) taking off in the aircraft with passengers without ensuring first it was in airworthy condition; (b) taking off in the aircraft without ensuring both engines were fully functional; (c) failing to respond to the reasonably foreseeable occurrence of an engine failure in a safe manner; (d) failing to fly the subject aircraft in a safe manner in returning to the airport from which they had taken off after the engine failure (e) flying the subject aircraft into a utility pole while returning to the airport and (f) otherwise failing to operate the aircraft in a safe manner.

“Pilots are trained to deal with engine malfunction as is described in the facts which occurred in this case and should have been able to return to the airport safely, said Lewis S. “Mike” Eidson, counsel for Vetancourt and Colemenares. “This aircraft was also designed to be able to fly with only one engine functioning so that a reasonably skilled pilot could continue to fly the plane safely in order to land at the nearest available airfield. This accident was preventable and we seek to hold Aeropanamericano accountable for the negligence which resulted in the tragic and unnecessary death of these two husbands and fathers.”

The complaints, brought under Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute, seek damages for loss of support, loss of companionship and protection, mental pain and suffering, loss of parental companionship, loss of earnings, loss of net accumulations and funeral and burial expenses.

About Lewis S. “Mike” Eidson:

Eidson, founding partner at Colson Hicks Eidson, is a nationally recognized trial attorney and former president of the American Association for Justice, the world’s leading trial bar. He has tried more than 120 jury trials for significant personal injury and wrongful death as well as multiple multi-million dollar cases to verdict and settlement.

About Colson Hicks Eidson:

The Law Firm of Colson Hicks Eidson is a trial firm with more than 40 years of experience handling local, national and international litigation. Partners at the firm have had the distinction of holding the following offices: President of the 60,000-member American Association for Justice; President of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers; President of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers; President of the Dade County Bar Association; President of the Miami-Dade Florida Association of Women Lawyers; United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Chairman of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission. For more information, call 305-476-7400.