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Survivor of plane crash, family of dead passenger still seeking damages from airline

WINNIPEG – Two lawsuits against a pilot who died along with three others in a plane crash on a remote northern Ontario reserve have been dropped.

Court documents show the claims were dropped after Keystone Air Service took responsibility for the 2012 crash at North Spirit Lake.

The sole survivor, Brian Shead, and the family of victim Colette Eisinger are still seeking damages from the airline.

A Transportation Safety Board investigation concluded poor weather, ice on the wings and the pilot’s inexperience landing in icy conditions contributed to the deadly crash.

Keystone airline acknowledged in its statement of defence that the fatal crash was caused by pilot error which makes the airline “vicariously liable.”

But the airline argues it is not responsible for damages which it called excessive.

“Keystone denies that the plaintiff sustained the injuries or damages as alleged, or at all,” the airline said in its statement of defence in Shead’s lawsuit.

It also argued the accident happened during the course of Shead’s employment, so he can’t sue according to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

Shead’s lawsuit alleged the pilot was incompetent and the airline was negligent for not providing him with proper training.

Eisinger’s family is seeking general and punitive damages, as well as the cost of her funeral.

The ill-fated plane left Winnipeg on Jan. 10, 2012, but was forced to circle the runway servicing the North Spirit Lake First Nation for almost half an hour while the strip was plowed. As the plane circled the landing strip, ice built up on the aircraft’s wings and tail — a buildup that caused the plane to stall and crash when it eventually tried to land.

Residents from the reserve, about 400 kilometres north of Dryden, Ont., rushed to the crash site and tried putting out the flaming wreckage with snow, but they couldn’t save those trapped inside.