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March 26, 2009 - 2 Lawsuits Filed Over Buffalo Plane Crash


The families of two upstate New York men killed in a plane crash near Buffalo sued the airlines involved and the aircraft's manufacturer Tuesday.

The lawsuits were filed in federal court in Buffalo, WIVB reported. The defendants included Colgan Air, a Continental feeder airline, Continental, Bombardier Aerospace Corp. and Pinnacle Airlines Corp.

Darren Tolsma and Ernie West, both employees of the Northrup Grumman Corp., were returning from a business trip on Continental Flight 34-07 from Newark, N.J., which crashed Feb. 12 on approach to Buffalo International Airport. The crash killed the 50 people on board the plane and one person on the ground.

Hugh M. Russ III, one of the lawyers involved, told The Buffalo News that lawsuits claim the crash was caused by a combination of pilot error and inadequate training and problems with de-icing equipment and plane maintenance.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not announced any definitive cause for the crash.

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