• Mestemaker & Straub

Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Helicopter Crash

A helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon ended with 3 fatalities and 4 critically injured on February 10, 2018. Weeks later, 2 of the survivors died due to their injuries from the crash. Now, the helicopter company, Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, has multiple lawsuits filed against them.

The lawsuits are for wrongful death of the 5 victims whose life ended after this catastrophic helicopter crash. One of the lawsuits filed claims the company neglected to provide its helicopters with a crash-resistant fuel system. If they had, at least two of the people on the helicopter would have survived the tragic accident. The suits could essentially go for gross negligence, but, that is yet to be determined.

Allegedly the helicopter spun out of control into the canyon due to a faulty tail rotor along with an inexperienced pilot and failed weather checks. The helicopter spun to the left multiple times rotating each time a full 360 degrees. It was also about 300 feet away from where it was supposed to be landing.

Helicopter companies have regulations that require them to be equipped with a crash-resistant fuel system. This was put into place in 1994 by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).

The systems fuel tanks expand on impact and have self-sealing components to keep fuel from spreading. This prevents aircraft from catching on fire and lessens the chance of people on board getting burned.

Since the FAA created the regulations, it appears that only about 15 percent of helicopters have this fuel system due to loopholes that the manufactures found and use to avoid the cost of installing the safer system.


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