Are Deadly Small Plane Accidents on the Rise?
(NEW YORK) -- Despite two deadly small plane accidents this week that killed a total of three people, including a young girl, and one Thursday that injured a family of four, experts say that it isn't necessarily a trend.
"Summer weather is better for flying so we have increased flying activity so we always see an increase in accidents in the summer unfortunately," said Steve Hedges, the head of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
A family of four -- the pilot, his wife and their teenage children — were pulled from the wreckage of a small plane that crashed Thursday in Helena, Alabama. They all suffered injuries.
On Wednesday, pilot Devon Logan, 52, a real estate investor, missed the airport landing and clipped a store roof before crashing into a San Diego, California, shopping center parking lot.
She was seriously injured. The other passenger, 78, was killed.
And on Sunday, a father and his young daughter, 9, were hit by a small plane making an emergency landing on a Florida beach.
Neither the pilot, Karl Kokomoor, 57, nor the passenger on the plane, David Theen, 60, were injured in the landing. Kokomoor, an engineering company president, expressed his sorrow, saying he'd intended to put the plane in water but the nose had ended up on the beach.
He said he never saw the pair. The girl later died.
Despite the recent spate of accidents, small-plane deaths are actually dropping, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). In the last five years, the number of deaths has decreased from 479 to 387 and that number dipped significantly last year.
But private flying still had the highest accident rate, according to the NTSB, which has promoted more training for pilots.
"I don't believe it's a trouble category," said Earl Weener of the NTSB. "I think it's just an area that is ripe for safety improvements and it would be very fruitful to make safety improvements."
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