Kin of air crash victims sues skydiving company and owner

By Nelson Daranciang
Posted Aug 09, 2016

Kin of air crash victims sues skydiving company and owner

BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
Attorney Rick Fried on Monday announced a lawsuit filed in the case of the May 23 Kauai skydiving plane crash on behalf of the family of two of the victims, Phillip and Marshall Cabe.

The family of two men killed in the crash of a skydiving plane on Kauai filed suit Monday against the company and its owner.

Brothers Marshall and Phillip Cabe of Lawton, Okla., died as a result of the May 23 crash.

The family's lawyer, Rick Fried, who filed the lawsuit in Circuit Court, said the aim of the suit "is to find out why the engine failed."

Fried said the skydiving excursion was a college graduation present for the brothers from their father, Kauai contractor Michael Cabe.

Cabe dropped off his sons at Port Allen Airport and watched their plane take off, Fried said. Then almost immediately after the plane left the ground, Cabe heard the aircraft's engine sputter and die, and watched the plane crash.

Cabe rushed to the crash scene, pulled his sons out of the burning wreckage and began performing CPR, Fried said. Cabe's efforts were to no avail.

Phillip Cabe, 27; Skydive Kauai instructors Enzo Amitrano, 43, of Koloa and Wayne Rose, 26, of Hanapepe; and pilot Damien Horan, 30, of Waimea, were pronounced dead at the scene. Marshall Cabe, 25, was pronounced dead at Wilcox Medical Center.

Michael Cabe and his sons' mother, Laura Bettis of Oklahoma, are suing D&J Air Adventures Inc., the registered owner and operator of the crashed Cessna 182H and owner of the Skydive Kauai trade name, and David Timko, D&J Air Adventures owner. D&J Air Adventures, Skydive Kauai and Timko all list Koloa addresses.

The lawsuit claims the crash was legally caused by the negligence or other unspecified fault of D&J Air Adventures, Timko, their employees, servants, agents or authorized representatives.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. According to its preliminary report, multiple witnesses reported that shortly after takeoff, about 150 feet off the ground, the airplane made a sudden right turn, descended and hit the ground. It then caught fire. The report does not state a cause of the crash. A final report is expected in about a year.

The suit will allow the plaintiffs to subpoena and interview people that the NTSB might not be able to, Fried said.

The Cabe brothers graduated from Cameron University in Lawton. Phillip Cabe graduated in May and Marshall Cabe in December. Phillip Cabe was also in the Air National Guard and had deployed to Qatar, Fried said.

Timko could not be reached for comment. According to the recording on Skydive Kauai's telephone, the company couldn't take any messages because the voice mailbox was full. Later the answering machine stopped picking up telephone calls. An email to Skydive Kauai also went unanswered.