Attorney: Internal Emails In Colgan Crash Troubling


A lawyer for families of those killed in the February 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 says that the carrier’s internal emails prove it “chose profit over safety.” The Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 crash killed 50, after the aircraft stalled at night in freezing conditions over Clarence Center, N.Y. Colgan emails sent between supervisors six months prior to the crash include exchanges about the man who would later fly as captain of the accident aircraft, Marvin D. Renslow. “Renslow had a problem upgrading,” states one supervisor. Another adds, “Anyone that does not meet the mins and had problems in training is not ready to handle the Q.” A response to that email states, “He is already off the list.” Attorneys for the families say Renslow was promoted one month later. The crash came five months after that. Colgan is standing by its actions.

“Captain Renslow was properly trained, certified and qualified under all applicable federal aviation regulations to act as pilot-in-command of a Q400 aircraft,” spokesman Joe Williams said. Williams is a spokesman for Pinnacle Airlines, which owns Colgan. Another carrier, Continental Airlines, is also involved in the lawsuit because it acted as its partner for the flight. The lawsuit claims that Colgan failed to provide sufficient training to its crews and did not adopt adequate safety programs. Renslow was issued a Q400 type rating after successfully completing Colgan’s FAA-approved Q400 training and according to Pinnacle, he then completed 20 hours of transition operating experience without displaying any problems. Colgan had originally considered the emails confidential, but released them voluntarily at the plaintiffs’ request to reconsider.