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Hawthorne Plane Crash’s Widow Files Lawsuit Against Pilot

Collen Lombardo, the wife of a flight instructor, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court.  The suit was filed March 20, 2017, and claims that the pilot of the plane that crashed, Aron Saul Rappoport, and other unnamed defendants were “negligent in the operation and maintenance of the Grumman American AA 1B aircraft.”  The 90-year-old pilot also died in the crash in early June 2016.

According to the lawsuit, “Prior to his death, Mr. Lombardo endured extreme suffering and mental and physical anguish, pain and personal injury, including but not limited to, pre-crash fright, as a direct and proximate result of defendants’ negligence.”  People on the ground witnessed the plane explode into flames as it crashed, but no one else was hurt.  

A report from the National Transportation Safety Board explains that “controllers saw the airplane become airborne, settle back onto the runway and become airborne again, bur ‘remained low’ as it climbed out.”  An additional witness also claimed that they noticed the plane’s departure was lower than normal.  As the witness watched the plain fly away, they noticed that it disappeared below a clear line of sight, and after they saw it disappear below the trees and buildings, black smoke rose into the sky.

The report said that the plane hit a 30-foot palm tree.  With the plane’s momentum, most of the wreckage “came to a rest against the condominium complex, where it caught fire.”

Lombardo’s attorney, Thomas Girardi, has not commented on the suit.  Lombardo is seeking damages for “pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress and preimpact fear of death, along with loss of care, comfort, companionship and other claims.”

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