Lawsuits were filed in a Pennsylvania court two years after the October, 2016 crash of a PA-28 Cherokee in the U.S. state which claimed the lives of three young men from the Niagara, Ontario area.
Flight instructor Rifat Tawfig, 25, was killed in the crash, along with flight training students Corey Mijac, 18, and Ben Jeffries, 19. All three were from the Niagara region, and were part of the St. Catharines Flying Club ab initio flight training program.
The Cherokee was one of five aircraft from the flying club that flew down to the southern U.S. for several days of flying. After taking off on their final leg from Richmond airport (KRIC), bound for St. Catharines/Niagara airport (CYSN), the Cherokee entered IMC on an IFR flight plan, subsequently lost control of the aircraft and crashed. A post-crash investigation determined that the aircraft experienced a vacuum pump failure.
The family of victim Mijac is suing the St. Catharines Flying Club and Aero Accessories of North Carolina, the latter being the manufacturer of the vacuum pump that failed on the PA-28. In a statement of claim, the lawsuit alleges that “Defendants Aero Accessories manufactured parts and components on the accident aircraft that failed during the flight contributing to the aircraft to crash into the ground. The vacuum pump designed, overhauled, manufactured, and provided by defendants Aero Accessories failed in flight. As a result of the failure of the vacuum pump, a number of the instruments in the mishap aircraft were inoperative or providing false information which contributed to the crash.”
On the same day, the family of victim Tawfig filed a lawsuit against the St. Catharines Flying Club, Transport Canada and the FAA, alleging the named defendants were negligent in deeming the aircraft was operational and allowing it to fly.