Renton aircraft company denies liability in 2022 fatal crash

Pilot and all 9 passengers died after the plane crashed and sank in the waters near Whidbey Island.

Courtesy of National Transportation Safety Board documents
Crews pulled the wreckage of the plane crash from the seafloor five days after the accident on Sept. 9, 2022.

Courtesy of National Transportation Safety Board documents Crews pulled the wreckage of the plane crash from the seafloor five days after the accident on Sept. 9, 2022.

Renton charter airline company Northwest Seaplanes, a defendant in three lawsuits against multiple aircraft entities involved in a fatal 2022 plane crash, has denied liability in the incident.

Representatives of passengers killed in a Sept. 4, 2022, plane crash in Mutiny Bay filed three lawsuits on Aug. 22, 2023, against aircraft entities including Northwest Seaplanes, Canadian aircraft manufacturer De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited, and more.

The pilot and all nine passengers on the scheduled flight from San Juan Island to Renton died as a result of injuries after the plane slipped into a near-vertical descent, impacted, and sank in the waters near Freeland and Whidbey Island.

According to lawsuit documents and the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of the incident, the horizontal stabilizer actuator — controlling the movement of the stabilizer that controls the up and down pitch of the aircraft — separated 20 minutes into the flight and resulted in the loss of ability to control pitch, potentially as a result of a missing or improperly installed horizontal stabilizer actuator lock ring.

The three lawsuits argue for the liability of the aircraft entities for damages, alleging the crash served as the consequence of safety inadequacies in the design of the aircraft’s horizontal stabilizer actuator and negligence in maintenance and inspection of the aircraft.

“The De Havilland Defendants had a duty to warn of unsafe, dangerous conditions,” read David McClinton’s lawsuit for injuries and wrongful death damages of passengers Ross and Remy Mickel. “The Northwest Seaplane Defendants had a duty to properly maintain and inspect the aircraft.”

In three answers and cross claims to the three lawsuits filed against Northwest Seaplanes, the company denied any liability for relief requested from plaintiffs and admitted entitlement to relief for the plaintiffs from De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited.

“The injuries and damages alleged by the Plaintiffs were solely caused by the conduct, acts, and omissions of the (De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited defendants) over whom (Northwest Seaplanes) had no control,” the answers and cross claims stated.

In addition, Northwest Seaplanes filed for property damages and economic losses themselves against De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited.

“In purchasing (the aircraft), Northwest Seaplanes Inc. relied upon express and implied warranties made by the (De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited defendants),” Northwest Seaplanes’s cross claim states. “The conducts, acts, and omissions of the (De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited defendants) … constitute a breach of said warranties.”

Northwest Seaplanes stated the breaches in warranties served as the proximate cause of the destruction of the aircraft, with the company suffering property damage and economic losses as a result.

Northwest Seaplanes asked for the dismissal of the complaints facing the company, with the costs of the proceedings taxed against De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited.

The King County Superior Court scheduled the trials for the three lawsuits for Aug. 19, 2024.

Pilot Jason Winters and passengers Rebecca and Luke Ludwig, Ross and Remy Mickel, Lauren Hilty (eight months pregnant with son Luca Mickel), Joanne Mera, Gabrielle Hanna, Sandra Williams and Patricia Hicks all died in the accident.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Northwest

Renton community safety forum targets crime stats, domestic violence

Renton Police chief says when he first started it was rare to have a firearm incident on the street

Photo by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times / Pool
Jeffrey Nelson at his trial May 16.
Jurors continue to hear testimony in murder case against Auburn officer

Jeffrey Nelson is the first officer in Washington to face a murder charge following the passage of I-940.

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO
Maple Valley day care employee charged with sex offenses

Federal Way man was employed at Discovery Playtown

Man killed by sheriff’s deputies in Auburn identified

Multiple shots fired during May 24 eviction

Chris Reykdal
State superintendent of schools says student privacy won’t diminish

Chris Reykdal: Federal protections for privacy remain despite state’s new parental bill of rights

State Capitol in Olympia. FILE PHOTO
Hundreds of new laws will take effect in state June 6

Legislature approved changes in police pursuits, parental rights, firearms and other laws

Renton Police seek suspects in homicide outside restaurant | Photos

19-year-old man shot May 18 in the 100 block of Airport Way

Photo Courtesy of Ivonne Carillo-Hernandez
Reyna Hernandez (left) with her mother.
Extradition efforts continue in case of murdered Renton salon owner

Louie Hernandez, 61, remains in custody of Mexican law enforcement officials

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO
Second-degree murder trial pending for Federal Way man

Case is related to the 2021 robbery of a cannabis shop in Renton.

A firearm retrieved from the suspect’s vehicle. Photo courtesy of Washington State Patrol
Federal Way woman arrested for allegedly brandishing a firearm on freeway

Once in June 2023 and again in May 2024, the suspect allegedly pointed her gun at others

Courtesy Photo, King County
Former King County jail guard pleads guilty to bribery, drug charges

Accepted bribe to distribute meth, fentanyl to two jail inmates

Investigators bust drug trafficking operation in King County

Thousands of fentanyl pills reportedly were kept at a Federal Way storage facility.