Estate of Dana Air pilot involved in crash sued

The estate of the American Dana Air pilot, Peter Waxtan, the captain of the plane that crashed last June in Nigeria, claiming his life and killing all passengers and crew aboard, is being sued in Florida Federal Court by the victims’ families.

Relatives of a Connecticut family of six are the plaintiffs in one of the suits.  Onyeka Collins Anyene; his wife, Maimuna; and their four minor children were killed allegedly because of Waxtan’s negligence.

The suit says the pilot:

  • Failed to promptly respond to engine trouble.
  • Failed to land at other available airports once engine problems were discovered.
  • Did not properly manage the aircraft’s fuel.
  • Failed to both declare an emergency and follow proper emergency procedures when the engines lost power.

A second suit making similar wrongful-death and negligence claims was filed by the relatives of two Texas sisters and by 18 other people, including several Nigerian nationals.  The estate of Maimuna Anyene is also listed as a plaintiff.

By the way, the final report on the causes of the crash is yet to be released.

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16 responses to “Estate of Dana Air pilot involved in crash sued”

  1. Eric says :

    I don’t know when Nigerians will stop embarrassing us. I can’t remember hearing that they have finished investigations and it was the Pilot’s fault. This will not hold in any law court because the cause or causes of the crash has not been determined or released. Why don’t they wait for the final report before suing anyone.

  2. Sami says :

    Such vicious allegations made against a dead man. There is no official investigation report issued yet and there will probably never be an honest investigation thanks to Nigeria’s corrupt aviation authorities. On what basis do these opportunists claim “the pilot did not land in a neighboring airport?”, that’s just nonsense for anyone well versed in aviation technicalities. It seems the aircraft gave little advance warning of an engine failure. Such occurrences are common causes of fatal air crashes. Until an honest account of what happened is released by the Nigerian Air Accident investigation bureau is released, there is little legitimacy to any lawsuits brought against the dead pilot’s estate.

  3. Alaba Bham says :

    Probably means of putting pressure on the Nigerian authorities/ Boeing / to conclude and release the report. Nigerian family files suit against the pilot’s estate, representative/s of the pilot’s family pass the pressure on. Suspect this will not be one of those reports which will not see the light of day.

  4. Jideofor says :

    I’m not certain the suits are vicious. Perhaps the airline’s vicarious libility for the negligence should have been additionally explored if it is not excluded by the applicable treaties/law. It appears to have been widely acknowledged and not refuted that an engine (in the 2-engined aircraft) failed about 10 minutes out of Abuja. The pilot could have thereupon made a safe return to Abuja or diverted to a nearer airport than Lagos but chose proceed with the airline’s commercial flight scheduling and continue to Lagos. The second engine then failed as the aircraft descended to Lagos at which point the aircraft was not at a sufficient height to to glide to the Lagos field and it crashed into buildings short of the field.

    Contrast this with the commended actions of the pilots in the Alaska Airlines flight 261 incident: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Airlines_Flight_261, and more instructively with http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2229397/Syracuse-Hancock-Airport-Delta-passenger-jet-makes-emergency-landing-pilot-reports-engine-failure.html and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2229875/Southampton-airplane-makes-emergency-landing-engine.html

    • Greg says :

      Alaba, AIN and LAF, what do you make of Jideofor’s allegation that one engine failed just ten minutes out of Abuja, but the 16,000 hr pilot chose to proceed to Lagos, over forty minutes away, (instead of returning?)? If the allegation has merit, I think it’s a case of “when in Rome, it’s safe to act as the Romans do”. Capt Waxtan could never have dared such was he flying the accident aircraft, in the US, to put this in context

      • LAF says :

        A failure 10 minutes out Abuja is a much different scenario that the double failure closer to Lagos that has been the general impression.

        I don’t think that such would have been allowed in the US or the Capt would go without some sort of reprimand, had such a flight landed safely. When incidents like relatively less dangerous failure of one of two flight magement computer are followed by immediate landing at the nearest available airport, something as major as an engine out to have high priority.
        If this failure was the case, then I’ll really be fuming as this would have increased the preventabilty of the accident.

        This strikes a more sombre chord, having only this weekend been in touch with family of friend on board that flight ;-(.

        There’s still serious ground work to do before we attain a more developed accident investigation system. Meanwhile the other variables like emergency procedures, contingency planning and emergency services and search and rescue.

        What’s the state of the designated alternate airports (I don’t mean on paper but the reality on the ground).
        It’s scary to imagine a distressed widebody anywhere in our skies.

        Nigerians are tired
        Never again.

  5. Obi says :

    The information available so far says nothing about an engine failure 10 minutes out of Abuja. It says that the pilots noticed a discrepancy between the throttle position and engine power output but did not feel it was serious. This is not the same as an engine failure! Additionally, if an engine fails in flight, it would be almost impossible to maintain cruising altitude but there was no report at any time of the pilots requesting descent due engine failure in the Abuja area. Please read the interim report yourselves to confirm rather than speculate! The engines are with Pratt & Whitney, and the NTSB is conducting simulator scenarios of the crash before a final report will be issued.
    http://www.aib.gov.ng/reports/Interim%20Report%202a%20-%20Dana%20Air%20Flight%20992%20prelim.pdf

    • Alaba bham says :

      Greg / LAF,
      I haven’t had time to look up MD 83 single engine out performance data but its unlikely to be able to maintain flight level 26 for over 30 minutes. The main point other than having a transparent and logical report if how long it’s taking. A quick look at the NTSB site shows an average of 20 months for findings. AIB is the primary in this situation so the NTSB will not release their simulation data except through the AIB.
      Obi, it’s previous experiences of things been ‘hidden’ that prompts speculation. Let’s hope the AIB produce a thorough report that will remove our cynism and increase our (travelling public and aviation community) faith in the process.

  6. Alaba bham says :

    Folks
    At the risk of being slammed for speculating, I had another look at the interim report and certain issues have come to the fore for me.

    1. The report states that the FDR was consumed by fire and therefore useless. From where then could the NTSB have the data to run simulation?
    2. Take off was 22 minutes after engine start. I know Abuja and know that taxi should not be that long. Were there issues / anomalies which came up after start up that delayed take off? The CVR was only good for the last 31 minutes so could not have recorded that but ground crew would know this..
    3. The final report should include more than just the basic information on the pilots. There should be information on criminal convictions, drug / drink problems and aviation related violations as well. I don’t know whether there was blood drawn from the deceased crew once identified to run tox screen tests. Yes, I know it depends on the state of the bodies.

    I apologise if the questions I’m raising irritate some on here but if anyone has answers, it would be gratefully received.

    • LAF says :

      Still another puzzle is the FDR and the intact tail section, where one expects such to normally be housed.
      There could be more to look for with the investigation.
      Questions coukd also be raised about the way Berger did the salvage work and the the emergency response at the site, given the known time line from impact to the fire.

      • Obi says :

        All your questions are valid and deserve to be considered in greater detail. I am not an accident investigator but know a few people involved in this. There is no FDR data, but the NTSB is trying to simulate various scenarios that could presumably cause a dual engine failure. A pump shut down somewhere through some combination of switches? An MD83 captain I know said its possible to throw a combination of switches which would shut a certain pump down that would starve the engines of fuel, but there would also be an almighty noise of various bells and whistles in the cockpit that would be unmistakable. I also heard either the NTSB or the Nigerians are going to carry out analysis of the CVR data using sensitive sound spectrum equipment to try and decipher engine RPM at various stages of the flight and if possible, determine when the engines quit.
        As you say, we have to hope that the Nigerian AIB doesn’t sit on the report.

  7. Alaba bham says :

    We will be lucky if a report is available by the first anniversary of the crash. Past data from incidents / crashes from the DC-9 line through its incarnation as the MD 80 series to me has not shown any similarities to the Lagos crash.

  8. skydancer13 says :

    If you are part of the aviation industry ones heart will always cry whenever you are faced with such tragedies, this particular crash is one that is really close to my heart because I am a part of lives that this crash has affected. I am weaved into this industry and as anyone in aviation knows, You are born an Aviator, it is in every fibre of your being, its part of your genetic makeup and it is your deepest passion. Aviators are born…not moulded into or taught. We are a family that knows no divide even if we don’t share the same blood.

    As if the loss of Captain Peter Waxton and all the souls onboard was not enough, we still have to endure such cruelty. I am not replying to this post as someone belonging to the aviation industry, many people have done that already, I am replying to it as a human being, with the heartfelt compassion that such a tragedy deserves.

    The article above pays no respect whatsoever to the deceased, CAPTAIN Peter Waxton, that is who he is, and that is how he died, he deserved to be addressed as Captain. Captain Peter did not ‘Crash a plane’ as mentioned above, he was a victim of this fatal crash same as everyone else onboard.
    What people fail to realize is that the crew of the plane are mortal beings as well. No pilot will ever put his own life at risk, because at the end of the day, he needs to make a decision that is good for his own life, any mistake that he makes could cost him his life. No pilot will ever do anything to endanger their own lives, just as all the crew and passengers onboard, pilots too have families and loved ones to return home to, no pilot will ever purposely place their life in jeopardy under any circumstances. If the Captain could have diverted to a nearby airport or made an emergency landing he would have done exactly that without a doubt because that is what he is trained to do, he was in command of the flight and without a doubt it was also his own life that needed to be saved.

    The only people who know exactly what happened that day is Captain Peter and his extremely competent First Officer, both of whom we have lost, so we will never really know exactly what happened no matter how many investigations are carried out and how many reports are issued.

    What I can guarantee is that the Captain and the First Officer as well as the crew of Dana Air Flight 992 done their utmost to try and make a safe landing, lets forget the reports and the investigations for just a minute, lets look at the picture of the plane after it has crashed, it crashed nose up, that alone speaks volumes and proves that they done their very best to stay airborne for as long as possible.

    Let us not tarnish the memory of all the people who we have lost in this crash, lets honour them so that their souls may rest in peace. Let us acknowledge that the pilots of this aircraft died as martyrs, they died trying to save the lives of all the innocent people onboard this aircraft.

    As an aviator, this is my guarantee to you, no pilot will ever go down without fighting and no pilot will ever bring such an unfortunate situation upon themselves. When a pilot puts on their uniform to commence duty it is done with every intention that they will return home at the end of the shift, sometimes instead of passing the blame to comfort ourselves we should take a minute to realize that sometimes there are situations that we do not have control over, what is written in our destiny by our maker will prevail. So I pray for all the souls of our faithfully departed to rest in peace.

    PS What I have written is my compassion towards all the victims of the crash, you are free to disagree, but please let us respect the memory of all those who we have lost.

    • Alaba bham says :

      Skydancer 13

      Thank you for your powerful missive no doubt written from the heart and full of grief. I have taken time to reread all the comments made on this matter and wish to highlight some issues.
      At no point did anyone write ‘Crash a plane’ as mentioned above,’. If you are alluding to the points quoted directly from the law suit, that is often how legalese is framed. It is hoped that the investigation and report will clear up these points.
      You have made the valid point ‘we will never really know exactly what happened no matter how many investigations are carried out and how many reports are issued.’ It is this same grief that you as a friend / relative of the technical crew that the families of the passengers are undergoing and we all wish to have answers I’m sure you’ll agree.
      I don’t know how many commercial / ATP pilots there are in the world but it would be in excess of half a million many of whom often are reflective of the world we live in. I remember the Japanese pilot who crashed his plane deliberately into Tokyo bay decades ago when suffering from mental illness. There have been so many instances of technical imcompetence even from the left seat that I could refer to . Also no doubt many of us have read reports of pilots arrested whilst flying or trying to fly under the influence of alchohol and drugs hence unannounced drug / alchohol tests. Indeed I remember in 1980s Lagos, there were pilots who were hooked on drugs that could have impaired their flying skills. I am NOT saying this is the situation with this tragic crash other than the fact that the causes have to be identified and hopefully addressed. I will not want to tarnish anyone’s memory please but I will want to know what happened.
      May time give you and others the strength to come out on the other side of the sadness.
      I will not add anyone to this debate until / when the report is released.

  9. Alaba bham says :

    Anymore I meant to write

  10. Ms P says :

    What is the aviation law that supports the claim against the pilot personally? kindly advise. I am looking at this in line with the doctrine of vicarious liability.

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