Lawsuit Claims FAA To Blame For Deadly Pike County Plane Crash

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Almost two years after a plane crash killed three members of a well known Eastern Kentucky family, a lawyer claims the FAA is to blame for the crash.

The Lester family plane crashed two years ago trying to land at the Pikeville Airport. The FAA ruled bad weather and pilot error caused the crash, but Attorney and Airport Board Chairman Mike DeBourbon says an air traffic controller gave pilot Herman Lester bad information. Now the relatives are asking for more than ten million dollars.

It's been two years since the Lester's plane crashed in Pikeville, but Airport Board Chairman Mike DeBourbon remembers the day clearly. It was raining and foggy.

"Is not a dangerous situation. It only becomes dangerous if you place someone in a hurry," he said.

He claims that's exactly what an air traffic controller in Indiana did. DeBourbon says he obtained and listened to the plane's voice recordings and says the air traffic controller gave pilot Herman Lester wrong information.

"They brought the aircraft in too early and too high. That placed the pilot in a situation where he could not land into Pikeville safely," DeBourbon said.

The plane crashed less than a mile from the airport, killing Herman, his wife Julie, and their 17 year old son Max. Now two years later, DeBourbon filed a claim asking the FAA for more than ten million dollars claiming the Lester’s would be alive today if it weren't for the FAA's air traffic controller.

"Had he not done that, I think the pilot could have made the landing into Pikeville," he said.

FAA officials say they can't comment on pending litigation. DeBourbon says if they win, the Lester family's living relatives would get the money.

DeBourbon says the Lester family didn't want to be interviewed.

The federal government has six months to review the claim and decide if they can compromise without going to court.

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