By Associated Press - Monday, August 11, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A co-pilot involved in a crash landing at a regional airport in Kansas has lost his appeal for Iowa unemployment benefits.

Donald Scarsella, 49, was co-pilot of a SeaPort Airlines plane Feb. 14 as it attempted to land at Salina Regional Airport in Kansas, The Des Moines Register reported ( ). Records show Scarsella and the other pilot did not lower the plane’s gear, causing the aircraft to crash on its belly. The two were not injured, and there were no passengers aboard.

The airline based in Portland, Oregon, soon fired both. Scarsella filed for unemployment in Iowa, which is where he lived before he was fired, according to spokeswoman Kerry Koonce of Iowa Workforce Development. Scarsella has since moved to Michigan and declined to comment to the newspaper. The Associated Press was unable to reach him on Monday.

He initially was awarded unemployment benefits, which SeaPort appealed.

Administrative Law Judge Susan Ackerman ruled in Scarsella’s favor in a June hearing, saying that there was no “wrongful intent on his part or deliberate disregard of the employer’s interests.”

The airline appealed that ruling to the Iowa Employment Appeal Board, which denied the benefits, saying Scarsella disregarded steps required to safely fly an airplane.

The board ruled 2-1 that Scarsella “knew what to do, was trained on what to do, was able to do it, was required by policy and safety to do it every time, and still did not do it.”

The two board members who ruled against Scarsella said he had been responsible for verifying that a checklist of items for a landing had been completed.


Information from: The Des Moines Register,

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