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Google co-founder Sergey Brin sued by widow of pilot killed in crash

Google co-founder Sergey Brin sued by widow of pilot killed in crash


Google co-founder Sergey Brin was flying a billionaire's seaplane from California to a private island in Fiji when it ran out of fuel and crashed into the Pacific Ocean, prompting a wrongful death lawsuit from the pilot's widow.

Blinn's $8 million twin-engine plane was equipped with an “unauthorized and illegally installed auxiliary fuel system,” according to a complaint filed in state court in Santa Clara County, California, on May 20, 2023. The plane broke down several hours into the flight on Sunday. Month.

Pilot Lance McLean and co-pilot Dean Rushfeldt attempted to return to California but died when they crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 30 miles southwest of San Francisco and about 13 miles short of the coast near Half Moon Bay.

The suit, filed by MacLean's widow Maria Magdalena Olarte, also names Google, which owns part of the plane, as co-defendants, as well as the maintenance company that installed the fuel system and hired the pilot.

Maria Magdalena Olarte filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Google co-founder Sergey Brin after his husband died in a plane crash while piloting a seaplane owned by him. AP

The lawsuit also accused Brin, who is the 10th richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of $122 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, of obstructing recovery efforts and destroying evidence at the scene of the accident.

“Brin is one of the richest people in the world.'' Mr. Olarte's lawyer said in an amended complaint filed on February 13 that if he wanted to recover the plane and the bodies of those lost, he would not be able to do so. He said Mr Brin's failure to act was “probably because he already knew the alarming facts”. This was revealed by the FAA in a subsequent investigation. ”

The Post has reached out to Google for comment.

According to a complaint filed earlier this month in Santa Clara County state court, pilot Lance McLean and co-pilot Dean Rushfelt “declared a state of emergency due to rapidly running out of fuel.” He was forced to make an emergency return to California. Bloomberg first reported.

In court documents filed in Santa Clara, Calif., earlier this month, Olarte alleges that Bryn intentionally delayed search and rescue efforts for her husband, Lance McLean, and that she – Mr MacLean said he had been a pilot for a millionaire for “years”. Instagram / @macleanmags

The suit says MacLean and Rushfelt were on their way to Fiji “for Blinn to host private guests on an island tour,” and that MacLean, 65, had been Blinn's pilot for “a number of years.” It has been stated.

However, Viking Air's DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 seaplane did not have enough fuel capacity to fly the approximately 2,350-mile first leg from Santa Rosa, California, to Hawaii. Brin and others hired a mechanic. The suit alleges that auxiliary systems were installed in the fuselage to increase the plane's capacity.

But because the mechanic installed it illegally based on memory, fuel was not transferred from the auxiliary system to the main tank during the flight, ultimately causing the crash, the lawsuit said.

Court documents say rescue teams found the plane floating upside down in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, which is home to sea otters, elephant seals, gray whales and other endangered species. There is.

MacLean and Rushfelt were both found strapped to their seats in the submerged cockpit, but neither could be rescued on the day of the crash. ft.,” the lawsuit states.

According to the complaint, MacLean and pilot Dean Rushfelt were flying from California to Fiji “for Mr. Blinn to invite private guests on an island tour.” It is unclear where in Fiji the pair were traveling to, but Bryn reportedly spent time on the heart-shaped island of Tabaru. Blinn's $8 million twin-engine seaplane — a Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 — was equipped with an “unauthorized and illegally installed auxiliary fuel system” and was scheduled for May 2023. The suit broke down a few hours into the flight on May 20, according to the airlines

Brin's family firm, Bayshore Global Management, publicly pledged two days after the accident to “provide support to the family and continue to do so for as long as necessary.”

But just a few days later, according to the complaint, Brin's representatives said, “Because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has denied permission for underwater activities in this area, no one can legally attempt to recover the aircraft.'' ” he is said to have said.

NOAA denied interfering with recovery efforts, according to the complaint.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs believed that NOAA was “holding back” for 24 days, at which point “the lie that NOAA was blocking recovery efforts was exposed.”

Despite publicly promising the plaintiff from the beginning of the crash that her husband's body would be recovered, Blinn and her attorneys have not been able to provide the plaintiff with evidence proving that the defendant was responsible for the crash that killed both men. It was decided to leave it on the ocean floor. According to the complaint, the pilot.

A representative for Mr. Blinn of Bayshore told the Post: Our thoughts are with the family, but we cannot comment on pending legal action. ”

Olarte is seeking at least $150,000 in economic damages, including at least $50,000 each in “severe emotional distress,” “economic damages” and “general damages,” according to the lawsuit.

Mr. Olarte's attorney did not immediately respond to The Post's request for comment.

In an Instagram post honoring her late husband 90 days after the fatal accident, Olarte wrote that Bryn “never once spoke to me or offered to help me find my Lance.” I wrote.




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