Airline sues Grumman over seaplane crash


MIAMI – An airline that flew between Florida and the Bahamas has sued the manufacturer of a 58-year-old seaplane that crashed in 2005.

In legal papers, Chalk’s Ocean Airways claims the Grumman Turbo Mallard was “not adequately designed for its intended purpose,” the Miami Herald reports. The crash off Miami Beach in December 2005 killed 18 passengers and two crewmembers.

The National Transportation Safety Board in a 2007 report said the right wing came off. The agency also blamed the airline for not finding fatigue cracks and the Federal Aviation Administration for not finding problems with Chalk’s maintenance.

”Chalk’s lost everything,” said John Eversole, the company’s lawyer, said. “They were put out of business by the defective nature of this airplane. It is as simple as that, and to be wrongly blamed by the NTSB is even worse for your reputation.”

The company was the last to use the plane, which has not been manufactured since 1951, on scheduled flights. The lawsuit names Grumman, now Northrup Grumman, and Frakes Aviation of Cleburne, Texas, which designed and tested the plane.

Chalk’s insurer, AIG, which paid out $50 million in claims has filed a separate lawsuit against the companies.