Maintenance Problems Suspected in Fatal Puerto Rico IBC Airways Crash
“A U.S. co-pilot who died this week in a small plane crash near Puerto Rico’s north coast had previously expressed concerns about maintenance and other safety issues, his brother said Thursday. Steve Gullberg, 28, of St. Louis, Missouri, became worried about the safety of IBC Airways planes after he joined the company about three months ago, his brother Greg Gullberg said in a telephone interview. ‘He had expressed concerns about how he doesn’t know if these planes are safe to fly,’ Greg Gullberg said, adding that his brother had not shared those concerns with company officials. ‘This was supposed to be his first big flying job. He didn’t want to take it to management and rock the boat’ . . . . NewsChannel 5 in St. Louis quoted an unidentified IBC Airways spokesman as saying that people should not assume mechanical error caused the crash and that the company is awaiting results of a federal investigation of the accident.
The plane’s pilot was also killed in the crash. Family members identified him as 35-year-old Jason McLaughlin of Weston, Florida.
The plane had left the Dominican Republic late Monday when it crashed in the coastal town of Arecibo as it headed toward Puerto Rico’s main international airport. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said air traffic controllers lost contact with the flight about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of the capital of San Juan . . . . Greg Gullberg, who began flying with his brother when they were teenagers, said Steve Gullberg lived in Puerto Rico and knew the route well. ‘They had flown it numerous times,’ he said. ‘They knew what they were doing.’
. . . . A former IBC Airways pilot who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from the airline industry said he also worried about the safety of the planes when he worked for the company. ‘The planes are very old,’ he said. ‘They’re always having mechanical problems, having to be fixed.’ The FAA in October 1986 awarded the plane that crashed a certificate of airworthiness that was valid through 2017.” (Source: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/ap/ap/transportation/puerto-rico-plane-crash-raises-safety-concerns/ncCXQ/).
“A St. Louis family is looking for answers as to how their loved one died in a horrific plane crash in Puerto Rico. The family of 28-year-old Steven Gullberg was looking forward to a holiday season filled with happiness and joy. Now they`re faced to deal with tragedy and loss. On Monday night, Steven and a co-pilot were flying a cargo plane from the Dominican Republic along Puerto Rico`s north coast when somehow the plane made a rapid decent and crashed, there were no survivors. Steven`s brother Greg says now his family is questioning how the plane was maintained . . . . ‘It`s shocking to have a fun night in with your family and then suddenly get a call that says you don`t have a brother anymore. I don`t know how to think or feel. I want to know what happened, why it happened and who`s responsible,’ said Gullberg . . . . ‘It looks like more than a simple crash. As a matter of fact all of the flight data shows that the plane just dropped out of the sky. Steven was such a great person, I have never met anyone who was so courageous and brave,’ he said.” (Source: http://fox2now.com/2013/12/03/st-louis-native-dies-in-plane-crash-in-puerto-rico/).
Type: Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III
Operator: IBC Airways