Family Blames FAA For Crash In Fog

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The family of a Texas doctor is suing the FAA for $25 million, saying controllers gave Dr. George Swanson "bad information" just before his Swearingen turboprop crashed in dense fog in Florida last November. The suit alleges that Swanson, an experienced pilot, was flying much lower than he should have been when the plane hit a wooded area short of the runway at Craig Airport, near Jacksonville, Fla., last Thanksgiving. But according to the NTSB preliminary report of the crash, controllers had advised Swanson that the weather was below minimums at Craig Airport (a quarter mile and 100 feet) and gave him alternates. Swanson tried the approach, anyway. Members of Swanson's family apparently believe the FAA failed to adequately warn the pilot that he was headed for disaster. The plane hit trees 1.8 miles short of the runway, according to the NTSB. "Something broke down. All it took was for someone to tell him that you're not supposed to be where you are. That's all it would have taken," Swanson's brother Richard told News4Jax. "The guy was a good pilot, a great pilot. He knew what was going on." The family's lawyer, Don Maciejewksi, said he thinks they have a good argument. "This is a case that does not add up. We have a good pilot who has a lot of bad-weather flying time and who made this approach many times before."