Owners of Piper plane settle 2 survivors’ lawsuit for $300K


The owners of a Piper aircraft that crashed on Tinian in October 2013, killing three persons and injuring four others, have settled for $300,000 the lawsuit filed by two of the four survivors.

The parties’ counsels Timothy H. Bellas and Colin M. Thompson filed on Friday a stipulated motion, asking the U.S. District Court for the NMI to approve their settlement.

Bellas is counsel for the defendants Star Marianas Air Inc. and Tinian Transportation Management Solutions Inc., while Thompson is counsel for Lisha Gu and Gu’s minor daughter, Yuxin Wu.

Gu and Wu were among the four survivors in the crash. Gu’s husband and Wu’s father, Xuan Wu, was among the three passengers killed in that crash.

Pilot Luis Silva and a Chinese female tourist were the two other fatalities.

Lisha Gu and the child are currently residing in Shanghai, China.

According to Bellas and Thompson, Star Marianas Air maintained liability insurance, which covered the injuries suffered by the minor child and decedent, with maximum coverage of $300,000 per person.

Bellas and Thompson said the parties have negotiated a settlement of all claims between the parties and this has resulted in the execution of a confidential settlement agreement.

Bellas and Thompson asked the court to find that the amount of the settlement is reasonable and allow Lisha Gu to sign the settlement agreement on behalf of the minor.

The lawyers said the settlement amount of $300,000, less attorney’s fees and advanced costs, is to be deposited into a trust account in China, with the child as he named beneficiary and Lisha Gu as the trustee.

The lawyers said the trust shall be used for the support and education of the minor until she turns 18 years of age.

Once the court approves the settlement, the parties will file  a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Gu and the child sued Tinian Transportation Management Solutions Inc., Star Marianas Air Inc., the plane’s pilot Silva, and 10 unnamed co-defendants, for negligence-wrongful death, negligence, loss of consortium, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The plaintiffs asked the court to hold the defendants liable to pay them in unspecified amount of damages, court costs, and attorney’s fees.

Thompson stated in the complaint that on Oct. 6, 2013 at 2:51am, a Piper Aircraft piloted by Silva crashed three miles north of the Tinian International Airport on Tinian, completely destroying the plane.

As a result of the impact, Xuan was killed and plaintiffs Gu and Wu suffered severe and debilitating personal injury.

Thompson said prior to the crash, the Saipan-bound aircraft descended to an altitude of 302 feet, turned 180 degrees, and collided with a jungle-covered hill at an elevation of 450 feet.

Thompson said the last radio communication with Silva involved him asking traffic control for weather condition information.

Thompson said prior to Oct. 6, 2013, defendants had knowledge of other air crashes involving their aircraft, including a Nov. 19, 2012 crash involving defendants’ Piper 32-300 and a pilot flying between Saipan and Tinian, which caused death and serious personal injury.

In the Nov. 19 crash, one person was killed and six others were injured. The six survivors, all Chinese nationals, also filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against the pilot, Jae Choi, Star Marianas Air Inc., Marianas Air Travel, Tinian Transportation Management Solutions Inc., Tianing Travel Agency, Top Development Inc., and 100 unnamed co-defendants.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.