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Lawyer in plane crash settlement talks

The families of six victims of the 2010 Lake Killarney plane crash are engaged in settlement talks with several insurance companies, according to the lawyer representing the group.

Devard Francis, an attorney at Laroda Francis & Co, expects the negotiations to conclude as early as April with a financial settlement forthcoming for the bereaved families.

Francis said he was approached by several insurance companies to begin settlement talks in early December 2011, not long after the official accident report was completed.

The report was leaked to the press last November.

“We are at the stage now where we are quantifying and assessing damages and trying to come to a reasonable figure [for] all those families that lost loved ones,” the lawyer said.

Francis told The Nassau Guardian that he could not divulge the identities of the parties who were offering the settlement to the families for legal reasons.

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace yesterday said that as far as he knew, the government was not involved in the negotiations.

Francis said his clients, many of whom lost breadwinners in the deadly crash, want to get the whole process over with so they can provide for their loved ones.

“The families are anxious for a settlement because most of them have dependants and children who they have to take care of.  They have feelings of anxiety to see what the settlements are going to be,” he said.

Last year, Francis said the group he represented planned to sue, however he held off from filing a lawsuit once settlement talks began.

Nine men, including pilot Nelson Hanna, were killed on October 5, 2010 when the twin engine Cessna plane they were on crashed into Lake Killarney minutes after takeoff from Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).

The Acklins Blue Air Charter flight was en route to San Salvador to take the men to a Discovery Day weekend festival.

The men onboard the plane died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries from the crash.

They were Clarence Williams, 38; Chet Johnson, 39; Corey Farquharson, 41; Junior Lubin, 23; Devon Storr, 27; Chanoine Mildor, 44; Lavard Curtis, 26; Delon Taylor, 28 and Hanna, 43.

The leaked report, prepared by investigators at the Civil Aviation Department, revealed several contributing factors to the crash.

The 90-page document said Hanna was not certified to operate commercial charter flights; that he and his co-pilot ignored earlier signs that the plane’s left engine was faulty and the small plane was more than 500 pounds overweight.

It was also revealed that Hanna turned off the power to his plane’s right engine – which showed no mechanical problems – while the plane’s left engine was failing, smoking and 150 to 300 feet in the air.

The pilot then turned while the plane’s landing gear was down as he tried to return to the runway but the plane stalled, pitched nose down and fell into the lake shortly after 12:30 p.m., the report said.

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