BURNET, Texas - It’s been more than a year since the historic “Bluebonnet Belle” crashed during takeoff in Burnet.
Cellphone video captured the World War II plane veering off the runway before takeoff. According to the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report, the pilot told investigators he felt a shutter of a stall before the plane crashed.
When the tail caught fire, Juan Jimenez held the door to help other passengers escape. All 13 people on board survived and many were injured. Jimenez suffered second and third-degree burns to 17 percent of his body. His attorney Michael Slack believes the crash could’ve been prevented.
Slack alleges the flying pilot was inexperienced and that the Commemorative Air Force personnel permitted him to fly the aircraft to "gain experience."
"These aircrafts require significant skills to fly and the operator of the Commemorative Air Force should've understood that," Slack said. “Who better than the commemorative air force to understand the experience and skills to operate and fly one of these aircrafts this is not the time with eleven passengers in the back to run an experiment to see if this guy can fly an airplane."
According to the NTSB's aviation results, the CAF has a lengthy crash history. Slack is fighting to have CAF raise its safety standards.
"When you're dealing with 70, 80-year-old aircrafts you need to raise the level of safety vigilance the bar of safety vigilance much higher," Slack said.