The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its findings after investigating a crash that occurred at the Melbourne International Airport in February. According to Brevard Times, the NTSB found that the probable cause of the accident was a combination of the incomplete instructions given by the air traffic controller and the pilot’s abrupt evasive maneuvers in response to the impending danger. The accident killed three people.
The crash allegedly occurred when an air traffic controller at the airport told the pilot Rob Kurrus that he was cleared to land, but neglected to provide detailed instructions. The controller assumed Kurrus would use a “typical pattern entry” but instead used a shorter approach. Another plane was already attempting to land, so the planes came dangerously close to crashing into each other. Kurrus realized the impending danger and made an abrupt evasive maneuver, sending the plane into a stall and causing it to crash nose-first into an area short of the runway.
Melbourne International Airport is in Brevard County, Florida and is accessed by NASA Boulevard (State Road 508). Deceased in the crash were Oaks 10 Theaters owner Rob Kurrus and two of the theater’s managers, 24-year-old James “Chris” Franklin and 25-year-old Justin Gaines. The air traffic controller named in the report is actually an employee of a private company that provides control service at Melbourne. The absence of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees has ignited discussions of whether the private companies may provide additional dangers due to faulty equipment, fewer employees, and cost-cutting.
Plane crashes are horrific and often preventable accidents, but are not entirely uncommon in Florida due to the year-round warm weather and multitude of recreational pilots. Due to the nature of plane crashes, they almost always result in catastrophic personal injuries or death. If the accident is due to the negligence of a pilot, airline employee, air traffic controller, plane manufacturer or any other entity, victims and their families may be able to file lawsuits seeking compensation for their injuries and/or death.