Articles Posted in Aviation Accident/Plane Crash

Earlier this week in Frederick, three people died and another two were injured when a helicopter and an airplane collided in mid air. According to a report by one local news source, the collision occurred just after 3:30 in the afternoon near the Frederick Municipal Airport.

helicopter-1443925-mEvidently, a small plane was heading in towards the airport to land and the helicopter was conducting some kind of training mission when the two collided. The helicopter was leased to Advanced Flight School, a helicopter flight school. Since the accident, the school has suspended its operations.

The people on board the plane survived with minor injuries. However, all three passengers on the helicopter died as a result of the injuries they sustained in the accident. Upon arriving, investigators saw the small plane strung up in the trees, hanging. There was a parachute hanging from the trees as well. It may be that the parachute was key in saving the lives of one or both of the surviving passengers.

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helicopter.jpgThe mother of a 3 year old boy who was tragically killed in a helicopter crash last month in northeastern Pennsylvania was the first to file a lawsuit in connection with the accident. She is seeking unspecified damages from two aviation companies and the pilot’s estate.

The plaintiff sued Virginia-based Hampton Roads Charter Service, alleging that the company acted negligently in leasing the five seat helicopter to the pilot. All five individuals aboard the helicopter were killed in the crash, which occurred just 30 minutes after take-off.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the pilot failed to follow federal regulations when he initiated a flight in low-visibility conditions, a condition in which he was not certified to fly. The NTSB further stated that he also failed to file a flight plan for the trip or obtain a weather briefing.

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17-year-old Ashley Younger’s mom is seeking Maryland wrongful death damages from the Federal Aviation Administration. Younger was one of four people that died in the September 27, 2008 medevac helicopter crash in District Heights. At the time of the Prince George’s County aviation accident, Younger and Jordan Wells, 20, were being transported by medevac for treatment of injuries they sustained in a car crash. Wells, who survived with serious injuries and had to have her right leg amputated, filed her $50 million Maryland personal injury lawsuit against the FAA last year.

In her Prince George’s County wrongful death complaint, Younger’s mother, Stephanie, is claiming that traffic controllers gave the Trooper 2 helicopter’s pilot incorrect and outdated weather information and were negligent when communicating with the medevac chopper’s pilot. She also contends that they were inattentive and unresponsive when he asked for guidance as he got closer to the runway. The helicopter ended up crashing in a wooded area.

Also killed in the accident were state police Pilot Stephen J. Bunker, state police flight paramedic Trooper 1st Class Mickey C. Lippy, and EMT Tonya Mallard. Lippy’s widow is suing for $15 million, while Mallard’s widower wants the FAA to pay $7 million for her Prince George’s County wrongful death.

20-year-old Jordan Wells is suing the Federal Aviation Administration for Maryland personal injury. The Waldorf resident is the only one to survive the 2008 Medevac crash involving a Maryland State Police helicopter in District Heights. She is seeking $50 million.

According to Wells’ Maryland aviation accident lawsuit, FAA traffic controllers gave Maryland State Pilot Stephen J. Bunker dated information about the weather conditions on September 27, 2008. She also claims that they failed to guide Bunker into a safe landing when the navigation equipment started to fail and that they did not notify paramedics about the last-known coordinates of the aircraft.

The chopper was transporting Wells and her friend, 17-year-old Ashley J. Younger, to the hospital after they had been involved in a Waldorf car accident. Wells contends that if she hadn’t been stuck in the woods for two hours with the helicopter on her body, her leg could have been saved.

According to federal transportation safety officials, multiple human errors contributed to the Maryland medevac crash that claimed the lives of four people in Prince George’s County on September 27, 2008. One of the people who died was 17-year-old Ashley Young, one of the Maryland car accident victims with low-level injuries who was being flown to a hospital. The other Waldorf, Maryland car crash victim, 19-year-old Jordan Wells, survived the Maryland medevac accident has undergone over 20 surgeries.

The helicopter Trooper 2, had bypassed Prince George’s Hospital Center because of fog. It crashed in Walker Mill Regional Park.

According to investigators, air traffic controllers were not very helpful, not paying proper attention, and sloppy. The troopers who were monitoring the air rescue did not realize in a timely enough manner that the chopper was lost and did not conduct a thorough enough search. However, pilot error is considered the probable cause of the helicopter accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board says pilot Stephen Bunker brought the helicopter down too fast, crashing into the ground. The board says the 59-year-old may not have had the skills to safely land the chopper when having to rely solely on aircraft instruments during poor visibility.

Bunker, volunteer medical Tonya Mallard, and paramedic Mickey Lippy also died in the Maryland medevac accident.

Aviation Accident Lawsuits

Plane crashes, helicopter accidents, and commercial airliner collisions seldom leave survivors. When anyone does survive such a catastrophic accident, the injuries are usually quite serious.

Pilot error, aircraft malfunction or defect, air traffic control negligence, ground crew mistakes, and poor weather conditions are some causes of plane crashes.

Extensive failures found in medevac crash, Washington Post, October 28, 2009
NTSB: Several factors contributed to fatal Md. medevac crash, Baltimore Sun, October 27, 2009
Related Web Resources:

National Transportation Safety Board

Medevac Helicopter Crash Kills 4 in Maryland, Fox/AP, September 28, 2009

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A spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board says that more than a dozen federal investigators have been assigned to the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407. The deadly aviation accident happened in New York on Thursday night, killing all 49 people onboard the plane and another person in the house that the aircraft crashed into in Clarence Center. Two other people who were in the house at the time of the deadly plane accident reportedly sustained minor injuries. Investigators are reportedly examining the flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

Thursday’s airplane crash is the first commercial airline crash in the US in over two years where fatalities were involved. Just last month, the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 was able to crash land the plane into the Hudson River. All 155 passengers and crew members safely survived the aviation accident. In December, 38 people sustained injuries when a Continental Airlines plane slid off the runway at the Denver Airport. Fortunately, there were no fatalities.

According to witnesses of yesterday’s plane accident, the turboprop aircraft could be heard sputtering before it crashed through snow and fog at around 10:20pm. The Continental plane smashed through the roof of a home and burst into flames when it exploded on impact. One witness reports seeing 50-100 foot flames emerging from the crash site.

A recording of the air traffic control’s radio messages reveal that the pilot never called for help and there appears to be no indication before the crash that the pilot or the controller thought that anything was awry. The controller did, however, take steps to notify authorities after he tried contacting the plane more than once and did not receive a reply.

Aviation Accidents

If someone you love was killed in an aviation accident, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against any negligent parties.The best way to determine if someone can be held liable for your injuries is to speak with an experienced Maryland plane crash lawyer about your case.

Examples of aviation accidents that could result in a plane crash lawsuit:
• Helicopter crash
• Medevac accident
• Faulty maintenance
• Defectively designed plane
• Pilot mistakes
• Crew errors
• Negligence by air traffic control or airport operator
• Weather problems
• Commercial airline crashes
• Accidents involving private planes
Fiery plane crash in upstate NY kills 50, AP, February 14, 2009
Pilot praised for ‘masterful’ landing, CNN.com, January 16, 2009
Crash victims include rights campaigner, beloved cantor, CNN.com, February 13, 2009
Related Web Resources:

National Transportation Safety Board

Continental Airlines

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The Baltimore Sun recently looked through crash records and other key documents related to 26 deadly medevac crashes that have occurred In the US since 2003. The newspaper’s findings indicate that many of the cases involved victims that were being transported by air even though they weren’t “minutes-from-death.”

The Baltimore Sun chose to review the medical helicopter crash findings after last month’s medevac crash that killed four people in Prince George’s County, Maryland raised questions about whether medical helicopter travel was necessary to save two auto crash victim’s lives. The Maryland chopper used to transport the two victims lacked the terrain-awareness system that could have allowed the pilot to detect that he was flying too close to trees. One of the teen victims died in the aviation crash.

While there are many instances where air travel saves the lives of victims who are very sick or seriously injured in accidents, not all of the 26 medevac helicopters that crashed appeared to have been carrying victims whose lives could only be saved if they were transported by air.

Findings include:

• In eight cases, patients actually waited longer for a helicopter than they would have waited if an ambulance drove them to a hospital.
• In six cases, patients were discharged soon after the chopper left them at hospitals or they were transported in long ambulance rides after the helicopter dropped them off.
• 13 of the 26 medevac crashes happened while patients were being flown to hospitals.
• Many of the patients had to wait for hours for a helicopter to arrive and while it was readied for take off.

• One patient was transported by air just 10 miles to a hospital.

Since last month’s accident, the state of Maryland has defended its approximately 4,500 medevac flights a year, saying that they are needed to save lives. It also has implemented a change that will limit the number of flights that are not medically necessary. While patients with serious injuries will be flown by helicopter when air travel will help save their lives by reducing travel time, doctors will have to be consulted before patients with less severe injuries can be transported by medical helicopter.

Meantime, doctors are calling for a review of medevac flights from a medical perspective and whether new guidelines need to be put in place to make sure that a person’s injuries or illness warrants the urgency of air travel.

Unnecessary flight risks?, BaltimoreSun.com, October 23, 2008
Doctors question use of medevac helicopter, UPI.com, October 23, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Copter lacked equipment, BaltimoreSun.com, October 24, 2008
Medevac helicopters under scrutiny, USA Today, September 29, 2008

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The National Transportation Board Says that the Maryland State Medical Rescue Helicopter that crashed into Prince George’s County Park on Saturday night was not carrying the terrain-awareness system that could have notified the pilot that he was hovering precariously close to trees. Four people died in the aviation accident, including a teenager who was being transported from a Southern Maryland car crash to a hospital.

The crash is considered the “deadliest medavac helicopter accident” in the state’s history and is the 8th crash of this kind in the US over the past 12 months. Victims from Saturday’s aviation accident included 17-year-old car crash victim Ashley J. Younger, onboard paramedic Tonya Mallard, Trooper Mickey C. Lippy, and retired state trooper Steven J. Bunker, who was piloting the helicopter.

Officials say that the injuries of the two car crash victims, including neck, chest, and side pains, warranted the use of the helicopter. The fact that the vehicle involved in the Charles County crash was crushed was another reason for the decision to transport the victims by air. One of the motor vehicle crash victims, 18-year-old Jordan Wells, survived the copter crash.

It took rescuers a little over two hours from the time the helicopter disappeared from the radar to find the crash site. When searchers were unable to track the chopper’s emergency locator transmitter, they used Verizon to track the cell phones of helicopter crewmembers. On Monday, Maryland medical examiners in Baltimore were examining the victims’ bodies to determine whether they were killed by the impact of the crash or if any of them could have been saved if rescuers had found them sooner.

According to NTSB findings regarding 55 EMS aviation crashes between January 2002 and January 2005, 29 of these accidents could have been prevented. One of the recurring safety issues identified was that safety technologies, such as terrain warning systems, are recommended but not required. Following this weekend’s crash, 12 rescue helicopters in Maryland were grounded. Only three of these aviation vehicles are equipped with terrain-warning systems.

Md. Copter Crash Scrutinized, Washington Post, September 30, 2008
Copter lacked equipment, Baltimore Sun, September 30, 2008
4 Killed in Medevac Copter Crash in Maryland, NYTimes.com, September 28, 2008
Board: Lives lost ‘needlessly’ in medical helicopter crashes, CNN.com, September 30, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Medivac Helicopters Under Scrutiny, USA Today, September 30, 2008
National Transportation Safety Board

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Maj. Stephen Stilwell, an air force pilot, is suing plane manufacturer Boeing over the F-15C airplane accident that left him disfigured and with debilitating shoulder injuries. The plane was built by defense contractor McDonald Douglas, which was purchased by Boeing Corp.

In his personal injury lawsuit, Stilwell says that the plane started “shaking violently” during a routine training mission. He ejected himself from the plane and was seriously injured when he was struck by parts of the plane, which had started to disintegrate.

According to air force investigators, there were cracks in the aircraft parts that caused the failure. These parts were installed without implementation of the correct safety measures.

After the plane crash, all of the F-15’s were grounded for inspection, with several of them staying there after similar cracks were discovered.

Stilwell says the accident has affected his ability to work as a civilian/military aircraft pilot. Stilwell contends that Boeing should have known that its F-15C was a dangerous/defective product that was susceptible to breaking apart during flight.

Product manufacturers, sellers, and distributors are responsible for making sure that their products will not cause harm to any users. Grounds for a products liability lawsuit can include:

Negligence: Failure to act with reasonable care to make sure that a product is safe for use.

Strict Liability: If a person is injured by a product, the manufacturer can be held liable even if he or she did not act negligently.

Misrepresentation: Marketing, promoting, or presenting a product in a manner that misrepresents the actual safety or risks that come with using a product.

Breach of Warranty: The manufacturer is in breach of the warranty that accompanies its product.

If you are injured on the job by a defective product, you usually will not be able to sue your employer, but you can file third party lawsuits against other liable parties, such as the manufacturer or distributor of the product. You may also be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits from your employer’s insurer.

In Maryland and Washington D.C., one of our products liability lawyers would be happy to speak with you.

Pilot hurt in jet breakup sues Boeing, CNN.com, March 25, 2008

Related Web Resources:

The Boeing Company

Plane Crash Info

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Early reports from the August 9 plane crash on Lawrence Hayden Road in Hollywood, Maryland, say that the Piper PA-22-160 immediately began experiencing mechanical difficulties shortly after takeoff. The single engine fixed wing aircraft was unable to go back and land at the airport, and the pilot had to emergency land the plane in an open field.

Pilot Gerald Nance, his son Gerald Nance, Jr., and his mother Agnes Nance were able to get out of the plane before it became enveloped in flames. Mrs. Nance was taken to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where she later died from her injuries.

The plane did not hit any buildings or homes as it was landing.

Aviation accident law oversees plane crash accidents involving large air carriers and airlines, helicopters, small planes, private jets, corporate planes, charter flights, and pleasure aircrafts.

Some common causes of plane crashes include:

• Faulty equipment
• Mechanical failures
• Pilot error
• Negligence by a third party, whether the person who chose a particular carrier or any organization or person connected to the running, maintenance, design, or manufacture of the plane
• FAA violations
• Negligence by the air traffic controller

Plane crashes often result in fatalities, and the people who do survive a plane crash—often with serious injuries—are very fortunate.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a plane crash that was caused because another party was negligent or because of a product defect, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death lawsuit if you lost a loved one in a plane crash.

The airline company, the pilot, the manufacturer of the plane, maintenance operators, plane designers, and the U.S. government are just some of the parties that could be held liable—depending on the cause and circumstances surrounding a plane crash.

A good personal injury attorney will understand the different standards, rules, and laws involving airplanes and the different kinds of personal injury claims that can be brought. He or she can sort through the evidence and determine who can be held liable for your injuries and accident.

Two Hurt and One Killed in Plane Crash, Firehouse.com, August 16, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Plane Accidents Overview, Justia

Aviation Safety Network

Recent Accidents, Planecrashinfo.com

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