Small plane safety issues highlighted by string of recent crashes

A series of small plane crashes has drawn increased attention to the important issue of aviation safety in recent months. The accidents, which involved both recreational and commercial aircrafts, occurred in several different regions of the United States and Canada.

A narrow escape for some

In one of the recent incidents, a small plane landed upside down in shallow water over the ocean near Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Firefighters arrived on the scene after receiving news that a plane had landed upside-down at the beach. The pilot, who was the only person on board, was "alert and talking" after the crash, authorities say. The plane had been towing an advertising banner at the time of the crash.

In another recent aviation mishap, a movie team crash-landed at the Telluride airport in Colorado due to a mechanical malfunction. Onboard at the time of the crash were author David Shields and publicist Emmy Chang, who were attending a screening of the film at the Telluride Film Festival. No injuries were reported in connection to the crash.

Tragedy for others

Unfortunately, some of those involved in the recent string of small plane crashes did not manage to escape unharmed, and some even lost their lives. Three passengers were injured over Labor Day weekend when a small airplane crashed near Prince County, Maryland. The plane landed in a stand of trees near a busy freeway, stopping traffic in both directions for several hours. Emergency personnel responding to the crash had to cut the passengers free of the plane, authorities say.

In yet another recent small plane crash, a Canadian charter flight turned tragic when a float plane carrying a group of hikers crashed and caught fire shortly after takeoff. The pilot and one passenger were killed in the crash, and at least two others were injured. Just weeks earlier, government safety regulators had issued a report criticizing Transport Canada's failure to take steps to prevent or mitigate post-crash fires in small planes, saying the shortcomings created risks for both pilots and passengers.

In the aftermath of the charter plane crash, Canadian regulators renewed their call for improved fire safety on small planes. Experts have cited passengers' proximity to engine fuel as a risk factor in small plane crashes. Other factors that may increase the risk of injury or death for those involved in small plane crashes include the relatively high risk of becoming trapped in the aircraft, as well as decreased accessibility for emergency personnel responding to crashes in remote areas.

Legal help for plane crash injuries

People and their loved ones who have experienced injury involving a plane crash should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney familiar with plane crashes to discuss their situation.