Drunk Passengers’ Families Sue After Fatal Crash

Lawsuit says airline shouldn’t have let group on board B.C. floatplane

The families of three drunk passengers killed in a May 2010 floatplane crash off Vancouver Island are suing the airline, saying the pilot never should have let them on board in the first place.

The airplane crashed into the water not long after takeoff, killing the three passengers and pilot Damon York on impact. Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said the position of the pilot’s seat suggested the passenger behind him kicked the back of his seat, causing him to be jammed into the panel and forcing the airplane into an unrecoverable dive.

A TSB investigation concluded the passengers were likely the reason the airplane crashed. Toxicology tests revealed all three were drunk before they got into the Cessna 206 floatplane. The group was also reportedly arguing and had brought along several bottles of liquor and a case of beer after another water-taxi company refused to take them to a nearby island where alcohol is banned.

The passengers' families filed a lawsuit last week against York's estate and the airplane’s owner, Atleo River Air. The claims said the company failed to ensure the passengers were not impaired by alcohol or drugs and that the pilot failed to wear a shoulder harness, “so as to prevent being jammed into the control panel.”