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On March 22, 1992, a freezing rain/snow mixture fell on LaGuardia airport in New York City, as USAir Flight 405 prepared to depart for Cleveland, Ohio. Due to the inclement weather, there were long delays, both at the gate and while taxiing to the runway. Eventually, the plane took off, but was unable to get more than a few feet off the ground before crashing into several obstructions and veering into a bay just beyond the end of the runway. Twenty-seven of the fifty-one passengers perished, mostly from drowning. Nine more were seriously injured.
Because of the long delays, the plane, a Fokker F28, was deiced twice before leaving the gate. But the plane was delayed again while taxiing to the runway, and by the time it took off, thirty-five minutes had elapsed between the last deicing. Our investigators found that this far exceeded the roughly fifteen minute period for which the Type I deicing fluid that was in use at the airport is effective. The flight crew had discussed the possibility of ice buildup on the plane prior to taking off, but had decided that another deicing was not needed.
Aviation accident attorney Jamie Lebovitz represented several families of the victims and obtained confidential settlements for the surviving family members.