Fatigue Blamed in Plane Crash

Toxicology tests point to sleep aids in blood of pilot during airplane crash at Visalia Municipal Airport.

While the official investigation may be over, the same cannot be said of the aftermath.

The city took several steps in the weeks following the crash, including revamping how police and fire staff take reports of aircraft emergencies and respond to callers reporting an overdue aircraft.

And after the fire crew's inaction to the witness report, one firefighter was suspended, a fire engineer was demoted and suspended, and a battalion chief was reprimanded. A fire captain abruptly retired.

Ernst said the NTSB findings don't affect a claim by Sinor and Plumlee relatives against the city alleging negligence in the deaths of the victims.

"The claim ... is based on the delay of emergency services and the consequential death of the occupants based on that delay," Ernst said Wednesday.

The claim was filed on behalf of Bernard Sinor's children, Mike Sinor of Arroyo Grande, John Sinor of Oregon and Teri LaFleur of Woodlake; Beverly Adair of Visalia, Betty Sinor's mother; Betty's daughters Krista Plumlee of Brentwood and Ann Hover of Fresno; and Krista and Matt Plumlee as the parents of the children.

The claim seeks compensation for emotional distress, loss of companionship and more than $3 million in economic losses and future earnings.

Ernst and City Attorney Alex Peltzer said talks continue between the city and the family for a possible settlement.

Less than a week after the crash, the Tulare County Coroner's Office concluded that all four victims died on impact.

The reporter can be reached at or (559) 622-2410.

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