The family of a brother and sister who were killed in a plane crash in southern Illinois on New Year’s Eve are suing the estate of the pilot, alleging he was not qualified to fly the private aircraft during poor weather conditions.
All four people aboard the Nashville-bound single-engine Piper died when the plane crashed into a wooded area near the town of Vienna, Illinois, including brother and sister Jordan Linder, 35, and Jasmine Linder, 26, both residents of Iowa.
The crash also killed pilot Curt Terpstra, 34, of Pella, Iowa, and Krista Green, 37, of Altoona, Iowa.
The four Iowans were headed to Nashville when they made an unscheduled stop in Hannibal, Missouri, due to poor weather conditions, the lawsuit alleges. Mr. Terpstra allegedly tried to resume the flight to Nashville a few hours later despite the weather forecast calling for severe weather.
According to The Des Moines Register, the complaint claims that Mr. Terpstra “was unqualified to fly the plane at the time of the crash, noting he was only allowed to fly during certain times, weather and cloud ceiling conditions. The suit notes that thunderstorms were forecast along with other poor weather conditions during the second leg.”
In resuming the flight despite the forecast, Mr. Terpstra failed in his obligation to understand the weather conditions, the lawsuit asserts.
Jordan Linder sent a video he took during the flight to a family member, which showed darkness and electrical storms. Mr. Linder’s sister-in-law told The Des Moines Register that the video “was completely black. All I could see was lightning.”
“Given the weather conditions and cloud ceiling, there was no way he could legally fly at a safe altitude,” a lawyer for the Linders’ estates told The Register. The Register also reported that Mr. Terpstra was not very experienced as a pilot. His flight records show that the last time he flew before the crash was in July and that he had less than 19 hours of experience flying at night and zero flight time in conditions calling for reliance on instruments.
Source: The Des Moines Register