Google co-founder Sergey Brin sued over a plane crash that killed two pilots last year


Google co-founder Sergey Brin is facing a wrongful death lawsuit from the widow of one of two pilots who died in a plane crash off the coast of California in May 2023. It blames a poorly installed modification for the crash and claims his representatives intentionally slowed recovery efforts to destroy evidence, as previously reported by Bloomberg and Fortune.

An updated complaint filed on February 13th in the Santa Clara County Superior Court of California says Lance Maclean and co-pilot Dean Rushfedlt were contracted to bring Brin’s seaplane from California to Fiji for island-hopping with friends. Ferrying the $8 million, twin-engine Viking Air Twin Otter Series 400 that far required an auxiliary fuel system, which the complaint alleges a mechanic did “from memory” without consulting a checklist or logging it with the FAA.

While flying on the first leg of the flight to Hawaii, the fuel system failed, and the plane crashed into the ocean while trying to return to California. The Coast Guard arrived within 15 minutes but was unable to retrieve either of the pilots from the upside-down and partially submerged aircraft.

Aside from Brin, the lawsuit names Google and Brin’s family investment firm Bayshore Management, as co-owners of the plane, along with those responsible for setting up the flight and the plane’s maintenance.

Following their deaths, the suit says Brin had said he would help with recovery. But then, Brin’s representatives allegedly told Maclean’s widow, Maria Magdalena Olarte, that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was preventing them from recovering the bodies — a claim the NOAA denied, according to the complaint.

Olarte is seeking damages for five complaints, including wrongful death and survival negligence, and is demanding a jury trial.



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