Parents of Law Student Killed in Buffalo Plane Crash File Suit

Posted on June 29, 2010

According to a Florida Times-Union story, the parents of a Florida Coastal School of Law student have filed a lawsuit against Continental Airlines for her death last year in a plane crash. Ellyce Kausner, 24, died along with 49 others when a Continental Airlines commuter jet, flown by two tired pilots, crashed over Buffalo, New York. One of the pilots had a year of experience and both complained before the crash that they were tired and inexperienced why trying to fly in an ice storm. Named in the action beside Continental is Colgan Air, the regional carrier, and Pinnacle Airlines.

50 people were killed in the February crash, 49 on the plane and one person on the ground. Kausner was a native of Buffalo and was on her way to visit friends after departing from Newark, New Jersey for the evening flight. The transcript of the last few minutes has been released and the two pilots talk about de-icing, something neither had experience with.

Capt. Marvin Renslow, 47 was commanding a Bombardier Q400 turboprop. Previously he had flunked numerous flight tests, and when the plane started stalling as he and his co-pilot chatted, he did the opposite of what he needed to do to gain speed and altitude.

As the plane dropped to 115 miles per hour, Renslow pulled back on the “stick-pusher” that goes into a dive to regain speed. When he yanked back on the controls he lost lift and started to roll.

It was the deadliest accident in commercial aviation in seven years.

Unfortunately the name Captain Marvin Renslow is now symbolic of the failings of the commuter airline industry and its under-paid, under-trained and exhausted crew, in sharp contrast to the experienced professional Captain Sully who brought his plane artfully into the Hudson, saving everyone onboard.

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