Survivors from a plane that went down last month near Fond-du-Lac, Sask. are going to take the airline involved to court.
The ATR 42 turboprop plane, operated by West Wind Aviation, crashed shortly after takeoff on Dec. 13, 2017, with 25 people on board.
Arson Fern Jr., 19, died Dec. 25 in hospital as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.
Several other passengers suffered serious injuries including broken bones and internal bleeding.
Regina lawyer Tony Merchant has been retained by a group of survivors and their families, including Fern’s.
On Wednesday, Merchant released the statement of claims he will file on their behalf.
It states, “no appropriate steps to de-ice the runway or the airplane took place.”
It adds, “passengers did not receive any direction or instructions from the pilots or flight staff during the crash. There was no warning or indication from the pilot or flight staff that there were problems during the crash; the passengers were left to fend for themselves in the chaos of the incident.”
West Wind Aviation provided each passenger with $5,000 in an effort to help them over the Christmas period.
But Merchant maintained that does not negate what happened nor the trauma the passengers have suffered.
“It doesn’t change negligence, it doesn’t change the damages they have to pay but it was an appropriate corporate decision and a generous corporate decision,” Merchant argued.
Passenger Tiffany Hanson, who is named in the statement of claim, noticed, “cracks on the aircraft” and overheard a member of the flight staff comment that the plane, “was too heavy.”
The statement of claim maintains West Wind and its majority owner, Athabasca Basin Development, breached the standard of care it should have shown to passengers.
Merchant added money and the number of damages will be the issue in this case.
“They are not able to earn a living, they are not able to look after their families,” Merchant said.
West Wind Aviation grounded its fleet voluntarily after the crash ahead of an order from the federal Transportation Safety Board (TSB).
The TSB continues to investigate the crash. In the meantime, West Wind Aviation’s air operator certificate has been suspended with Transport Canada citing “deficiencies in the company’s operational control system.”