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Wrongful Death Suit Filed In Pensacola, FL Accident

Pilot Took Evasive Action To Avoid Midair Collision And Stalled At Low Altitude

The widow of the passenger in an airplane that went down in March at Peter O. Knight airport in Pensacola, FL has filed a wrongful death lawsuit naming several defendants, including the estate of her husband's best friend who was piloting the accident airplane.

According to the NTSB's preliminary report, the Cessna 340A, N6239X, was destroyed when it impacted terrain during an initial climb following a takeoff at Peter O. Knight Airport (TPF), Tampa, Florida. The airline transport pilot and the private pilot were fatally injured.

A temporary flight restriction (TFR) was in effect at the time of the accident due to an airshow at nearby MacDill Air Force Base. The TFR extended in a 5-nautical-mile radius from the center of the base, from the surface to 15,000 feet unless authorized by air traffic control. The TFR extended over the southern ends of both runways at TPF. Multiple sources indicated that while the twin-engine Cessna 340 was taking off from runway 4, a single-engine Cessna 172M, N61801, was taking off from runway 36.

There were two pilots in the Cessna 172; the pilot in command (PIC) who had just passed his private pilot check ride at TPF, and a pilot-rated passenger, who had also been the PIC's flight instructor. The Cessna 172 was departing for its home airport following the check ride. In separate written statements, both pilots stated that the PIC made an advisory radio call indicating they would be taking off from runway 36. They also stated that they did not hear any other airplane on the frequency, with the PIC noting that they monitored frequency 122.725 [the CTAF frequency] from the taxi start point in front of the fixed base operator (FBO) to runway 36.

Airport security video shows the Cessna 172 coming into view airborne off runway 36, and climbing straight out over the runway. As it neared the intersection, the Cessna 340 came into view, just lifting off from runway 4 and almost immediately beginning a hard left turn. The Cessna 340 continued the turn, passing behind the Cessna 172 while climbing and closing on the Cessna 172's right side. It almost reached Cessna 172's altitude, but continued the left turn onto its back, and descended into the ground. A fireball then erupted that initially extended well below and in front of the Cessna 172.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that, according to the lawsuit filed in Hillsborough County Circuit Court by Leann Carreno, the widow of Kevin Carreno, who was the passenger in the Cessna 340, the pilots aboard both aircraft operated those aircraft negligently and were unfit to fly. The suit also names Paul Bellizzi and Tampa Aviation Club, which owns the 172, as well as Ninexray Inc., the owner of the Cessna 340.

(Image from file. Not accident airplane)

FMI: www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief.aspx?ev_id=20160318X22506&key=1

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