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Co-pilot of crashed Comair jet sues everyone involved

The co-pilot of a crashed Comair jet has sued the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the airport and the maker of charts being used when the plane's crew took off from the wrong runway.

The sole survivor, First Officer James Polehinke, and Amy Clay, the widow of Capt. Jeffrey Clay, filed similar lawsuits last week in U.S. District Court over last year's crash.

They allege negligence by the FAA, Blue Grass Airport and Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., which made the runway charts used at the airport.

Comair Flight 5191 crashed Aug. 27, 2006, shortly after taking off from the wrong runway - a general aviation strip too short for a commercial jet.

The National Transportation Safety Board found last month that the accident was primarily caused by the failure of Clay and Polehinke.

However, the lead investigator said other factors were involved, including a fatigued air traffic controller, a short-staffed control tower, outdated airport charts and missing paperwork that would have warned the pilots about a construction project that changed the taxi route.

In the lawsuit, attorneys for Amy Clay and Polehinke said the FAA, the airport officials and board, and Jeppesen did not follow proper rules and procedures to ensure the safety of the plane.

A spokeswoman for the airport, Amy Caudill, said in a news release that the NTSB's investigation found that neither the airport board nor its employees were responsible for the crash, and FAA inspections found that the airport's signs and markings met FAA standards.

A representative of Jeppesen declined to comment. The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Amy Clay declined to comment, as did Bruce Brandon, an attorney for Polehinke.

Polehinke also has sued the company that designed the runway lighting at the airport.

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