An elderly couple who narrowly escaped when a small cargo plane crashed into their home is suing the Kansas airline company.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by Roberta and Raymond Rolinskas, 82 and 84, against Central Airlines, which owned the plane that plowed into their home near Midway Airport on Nov. 18.
Central Airlines is located in Fairway.
“The emotional trauma has been devastating to them,” their lawyer, Matthew Jenkins, said in a statement. “Hearing, seeing and feeling an airplane crashing just inches away from them has caused severe emotional distress.”
The suit accuses the company of negligence and seeks an unspecified amount in damages.
Eric Howlett, 47, had just taken off from Midway Airport about 2:45 a.m. when he radioed the control tower that he was “having trouble with the left engine,” according to a preliminary report on the crash released this week.
Howlett, 47, was cleared to return to Midway when he dropped from the radar about half a mile from the runway, according to the report by the National Transportation Safety Board. His twin-engine Aero Commander crashed into the couple’s brick home and missed their bedroom by inches.
The plane hit the right side and front of the house, 8 inches from where the Rolinskases were sleeping in a bedroom on the left side of the home, according to neighbors and fire officials. The pilot was killed.
Both Rolinskases suffered injuries, according to the lawsuit. The Chicago Fire Department at the time of the crash said the pair declined to be taken to a hospital.