The widow of a pilot killed when a small, banner-towing plane crashed during takeoff from the Compton airport in 2015 settled her lawsuit against the airport’s managers alleging the emergency personnel present that day were insufficiently trained to prevent her husband from burning to death.
Richard Gene Gochie, 48, of Redmond, Oregon, died Aug. 9, 2015, from multiple traumatic injuries, according to a copy of his death certificate attached to the lawsuit that Michelle Denise Gochie filed in August 2017 in Los Angeles Superior Court against American Airports Corp. Inc. The suit alleged wrongful death, negligence and premises liability and sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
The case was later transferred to Compton Superior Court, where her lawyers filed a notice of settlement earlier this month. No terms were divulged.
The crash occurred as the single-engine Aviat Husky A-1 was picking up a banner at Compton/Woodley Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Gochie survived the crash, but died from the fire that engulfed the aircraft, the suit stated. The airport’s emergency vehicles were not fully operational and the emergency employees present did not provide immediate aid, the suit alleged.
A preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board stated that witnesses saw Gochie pick up a tow banner successfully on his sixth attempt. Gochie then reported by radio that he was unable to climb and the banner fell to the ground, the NTSB report said.
The airplane spun to the left and headed downward and caught on fire, according to the report.