CHICAGO (CN) - A plane crash that killed 11 people in the Republic of Congo, including six Australian mining executives, was caused by the plane's defective Garmin GPS unit, 25 relatives of the victims claim in Federal Court.
Hong Cassley and 24 co-plaintiffs sued Garmin International, Sundance Resources, Cam Iron, Aero Service SARL, and Raymond Griesbaum, for the June 19, 2010 crash.
The plaintiffs, citizens of China, the United Kingdom and Australia, sued individually and as representatives of their late relatives' estate.
"On June 19, 2010, plaintiffs' decedents were passengers onboard a Casa 212 aircraft performing a charter flight from Yaoundé, Cameroon to Yangadou, Republic of Congo," the complaint states.
"On a date prior to June 19, 2010, defendant Garmin designed, manufactured, assembled, and sold the Map 496 Global Positioning System unit installed onboard the accident aircraft.
"At the time the GPS unit left the custody and control of defendant Garmin, it was defective and unreasonably dangerous in one or more of the following respects, among other defects:
"a. The GPS unit installed on the accident aircraft failed to provide relevant and/or accurate information regarding the aircraft's position,
"b. The terrain avoidance functionality of the GPS unit failed to provide timely alerts of approaching and hazardous terrain, and
"c. The GPS unit did not contain any warning of these or other defects.
"As the direct and proximate result of one or more of the aforesaid defective and unreasonably dangerous conditions, the accident aircraft failed to avoid mountainous terrain while in flight and violently crashed into the ground near Avima, Republic of Congo.
"As the direct and proximate result of the aforesaid crash, plaintiffs' decedents were killed."
The English newspaper The Telegraph reported that 11 people were onboard the plane, including the director of Sundance Resources, Ken Talbot, one of Australia's richest men. Talbot's relatives are not a party to this case.
The plane was chartered by Sundance to take members of its board of directors on a tour of the Mbalam iron ore fields owned by Cam Iron in northwest Congo-Brazzaville, which are worth billions of dollars, according to The Telegraph.
Cassley says his relative, James Cassley, worked for GMP Securities Europe and "was required to travel to specific locations at specific times, and in the manner determined by defendants Sundance and Cam Iron."
"At all times relevant hereto, Defendants Sundance and Cam Iron owed plaintiffs and plaintiffs' decedents a duty to use reasonable care in selecting a charter flight operator so as to not cause injury to, or the deaths of, plaintiffs' decedents," Cassley says.
"Plaintiffs and the other heirs and next of kin of their respective decedents have suffered a loss of support, loss of net accumulations, loss of household and other services, loss of care, comfort, companionship, guidance and society and mental anguish, sorrow and grief as the result of the deaths of plaintiffs' decedents," the complaint states.
The plaintiffs demand damages for negligence and seven other counts which are not precisely explicated in the complaint.
They are represented by Floyd Wisner.