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July 17, 2009

Motley Rice LLC files lawsuit related to Boeing 747 Kalitta/Centurion forced landing

Motley Rice has filed a negligence action against three defendants claiming that their actions and inactions resulted in the forced landing and destruction of a Boeing 747-200 freighter plane near Bogota, Colombia, on July 7, 2008. Though all eight crew members survived the forced landing, they sustained serious injuries. Motley Rice represents Bryant Beebe, the captain of the flight who guided the aircraft to what is believed to be the first survivable forced landing of a Boeing 747.

The flight, operated by Kalitta Air LLC as a wet-lease for Centurion Air Cargo of Miami, departed the El Dorado International Airport near Bogota, Colombia, just before 3:00 a.m. EDT with a planned destination of Miami International Airport.  Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft experienced multiple engine failures and loss of thrust on operating engines. Captain Beebe and his crew initiated emergency procedures and attempted to turn back to the departure airport. Struggling to keep the aircraft flying despite the reduced thrust, Captain Beebe managed to execute a forced landing in the dark mountainous terrain.

Among other allegations, the complaint alleges that Boeing failed to provide adequate operating instructions and warnings for the operation of the aircraft, particularly at high altitude airports, and that Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technology Corporation, did not provide adequate guidance for maintenance and inspection of the JT9D-7Q engines that failed on the accident aircraft. Additionally, the action alleges Centurion Air Cargo inadequately supervised the aircraft's servicing at El Dorado International Airport on the day of the incident. The case was filed in the Circuit Court of the 16th Judicial Circuit in Monroe County, Florida.

"Manufacturers of aircraft and engines have a duty to provide comprehensive and comprehensible instructions for their products that contemplate all conditions in which the aircraft are certified to operate. Servicers of aircraft are expected to provide proper fuel, stores, and loading," said Mary Schiavo, former Department of Transportation Inspector General and leader of the Motley Rice aviation team.
The damages Captain Beebe has incurred include pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, medical expenses, loss of earnings, damaged earning capacity and other personal and pecuniary losses. Mrs. Beebe has incurred damages including deprivation of services, society and companionship.

Motley Rice attorneys gained recognition for their work on behalf of asbestos victims, the State Attorneys General in their landmark litigation against Big Tobacco, and the 9/11 families in their groundbreaking lawsuit against terrorist financiers. The firm employs over 300 people, is headquartered in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and has additional offices in Providence, Rhode Island; Hartford, Connecticut; New York, New York; and Morgantown, West Virginia.

Motley Rice attorneys continue to seek justice for those harmed by aviation disasters; catastrophic injury; securities and consumer fraud; environmental hazards and contamination; medical negligence and medical drug and device defects; occupational disease including mesothelioma; and transportation defects.

For more information on this case, contact attorney Mary F. Schiavo (DC, MD, MO, SC) at +1 800.868.6456.