Fateful flight
Eddie Andreini, flying his Stearman biplane at the Travis Air Force Base airshow. Photo courtesy Ames Kanemoto

The U.S. Air Force has agreed to pay the Andreini family $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit after Coastside stunt pilot Eddie Andreini died in a fiery plane crash at the Travis Air Force Base in 2014.

As part of the case, which settled on Thursday, the Air Force also agreed to change its rescue procedures, according to the family's attorney

During his performance in May of 2014, Andreini's Stearman biplane hit the ground upside down and caught fire. Firefighters on the premises reportedly took five minutes to reach the 77-year-old pilot, who died in the fire.

In the wake of the crash, the family had questions about the incident. A Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Andreinis' attorney Mike Danko reportedly yielded very little in form of video recordings and other documentation that shed more light on the tragic event. The family believes that a faster response time could have led to a different result.

"The science tells us that the chances of being saved are very good if they can get to you in three minutes," said Danko.

According to reports from show attendees, firefighters were out of their truck taking photos when Andreini's plane went down, Danko said. A five-minute response time was previously required for unannounced emergencies, he noted, but under the new requirements firefighters will be required to be suited up, in their trucks and within direct access of the show line.

"This is one where really the family is just heroes," Danko said. "When they couldn't get answers they didn't want this to happen to someone else."

The Air Force could not be immediately reached for comment.


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