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Investigation questions whether pilot negligence caused crash

The complex weave of terrain in many parts of Alaska often complicates rescue missions when aviation accidents occur. This seems to be the case in the aftermath of a recent tragedy involving two planes and resulting in multiple fatalities. Investigators are wondering whether pilot negligence was a causal factor in the crash that took the lives of everyone on-board both aircraft.

The situation developed on a recent Thursday when two aircraft collided in midair. One of the planes was manned by a 48-year-old pilot, and carried two passengers, ages 32 and 21. The other was flown by a 44-year-old man with a single passenger, age 40. Officials say the recovery team had a difficult time reaching the crash site.

Wreckage from the planes was strewn across a very remote region. Debris from the aircraft hit the ground approximately half a mile away from each other. Responders finally reached the wreckage, but they had to turn back before recovering the bodies. Their efforts were halted by the coming nightfall.

One of the planes belonged to a company that was the subject of a National Transportation Safety Board request to undergo a safety audit in 2014 because of several previous midair collisions. A spokesperson for the company said changes were made and that's all history at this point. If an aviation crash in Alaska is determined to have been caused by pilot negligence, the immediate family members of fatal victims would be able to seek monetary recovery of their losses by filing wrongful death claims in civil court.

Source:, "Troopers release names of 5 killed in Alaska midair crash", Sept. 1, 2016

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