Dreyer, et al v. Tropic Air

A plane with Belize registration V3-HGH operated by Tropic Air crashed into the Atlantic Ocean during an approach to land at San Pedro Airport, Belize. The flight was registered as a foreign scheduled commuter flight and originated in Belize City. According to information provided by the Belize Department of Civil Aviation, rain showers were in the area at the time, and visibility was poor. Accordingly, instrument meterological conditions prevailed, so an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The airplane was about 2.5 miles away from the runway threshold at an altitude of about 400 feet. The pilot started reducing power to maintain a speed of 120 knots for flap deployment when suddenly there was an indication of a 1,000 feet per minute descent rate. The pilot attempted to increase power to initiate a climb, however it continued to descend and crashed into the ocean.

There were thirteen passengers onboard the aircraft that suffered minor to moderate injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The passengers had to exit the plane and cling to the fuselage for over 90 minutes during a driving rainstorm before they were rescued.  No safety briefings or instructions were given before the flight commenced and some passengers were unable to find life vests as they exited the plane. One passenger suffered an injury to his foot that occurred when he had to kick open the exit door. Although passenger physical injuries were mild, several people reported symptoms of PTSD related to flying. Slack Davis Sanger represented five of the passengers and secured a settlement for their pain, suffering, and mental anguish.

Date of Incident

December 27, 2002

Location of Incident

Belize City, Belize

Media Coverage

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