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Pike & Lustig, LLP. We see solutions where others see problems.

Florida Couple Killed in Tragic Private Plane Accident in Colorado


According to a report from Fox News, a newlywed Florida couple was killed in a tragic aviation accident in Colorado. Costas John Sivyllis and Lindsey Vogelaar were confirmed by authorities to be the victims of the heartbreaking private plane crash.

The private plane had taken off from Telluride Airport approximately 15 minutes before the accident. The San Miguel County Sheriff immediately dispatched emergency rescue teams. The cause of the accident is not yet known. The National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation.

97 Percent of Aviation Fatalities Occur on Non-Commercial Flights 

You may have heard that flying is among the safest forms of transportation. In many ways, that statement is true. Per mile travelled, a plane is far safer than an automobile—especially if you are flying on a commercial jet. Indeed, by some metrics, flying on a commercial airliner is even safer than walking.

However, private aviation accidents are more common than many people realize. According to data provided by the Flight Safety Foundation, 393 people were killed in aviation accidents in the United States in 2018. Of that, 381 (97 percent) were killed in private plane crashes. Alarmingly, the rate of private plane accidents increased in both 2017 and 2018—reversing earlier trends of improved safety.

Private Flights are Governed By Different Safety Regulations 

Aviation safety experts note that private plane accidents can happen for a wide variety of different reasons. Though, they believe that the primary reason why these accidents are more common is because private planes are subject to far less stringent transportation safety regulations than commercial airlines. Most private flights fall under ‘Part 91’ of Federal Aviation regulations. In contrast, commercial airlines are governed by ‘Part 121’ of Federal Aviation regulations. Among other things, these regulations govern:

  • The level of mandatory pilot training;
  • The aircraft inspection and maintenance rules; and
  • The weather conditions under which a plane can take off.

As a simple example, commercial aircrafts that are governed by Part 121 are not able to take off in conditions of low visibility. On the other hand, private planes regulated by Part 91 are lawfully able to take off even if visibility is very poor. In addition, private pilots generally require far less training than do commercial operators.

All Aviation Accidents are Investigated By the NTSB 

All plane crashes, including private plane accidents, will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB may or may not publish a public report on the crash. Beyond a federal investigation, victims and their families may also want to initiate their own independent investigation into the accident. 

Call Our Florida Aviation Accident Lawyers for Immediate Assistance

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Miami aviation accident attorneys are experienced, reliable advocates for victims and their families. We will protect your rights and hold negligent parties accountable. Contact us today for a free, no obligation review of your case. With legal offices in Miami and West Palm Beach, we handle plane accidents claims throughout South Florida, including in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.


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