A wrongful death lawsuit was filed on Monday in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois on behalf of the family of an airline employee who perished in the fiery crash of a Boeing 747 cargo plane outside Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan on April 29. The victim, Gary Stockdale, was a mechanic for National Airlines who was aboard the flight when it crashed shortly after takeoff. The suit was filed by Chicago-based Nolan Law Group which is also representing the families of Jamie Lee Brokaw and Rinku Summan, pilots for National Airlines who were among the seven men killed in the crash.
“At the time of the crash, the plane was transporting cargo that included five Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles weighing nearly 80 tons which were on pallets in the main cargo area of the plane,” Nolan Law Group said in a press statement. “Government investigators have reported that it is likely a shift in the cargo from one of the vehicles breaking loose from its restraints that resulted in the crash.”
The suit alleges that the accident aircraft was unreasonably dangerous and unfit for the transport of high density, rolling cargo and that Boeing's manuals lacked sufficient limitations and warnings related to the transportation of such cargo. The suit further alleges that the airplane's cargo restraint system was faulty, that it was improperly assembled by Boeing during its conversion from a passenger to a cargo aircraft, and that the instructions on the use of the cargo restraint system were inadequate.
Days after the crash, National Airlines released a list of “facts” prior to the Boeing 747's accident. In that list the company said “the cargo contained within the aircraft was properly loaded and secured, and had passed all necessary inspections prior to departing.”