Case of 2008 Crash of Bell Chopper in Peru Revived in Oregon Court
Echoes of a crash of a helicopter in Peru in 2008 are being felt in Multnomah County, Oregon in 2016.
In the crash, while surveying for oil, two pilots and eight Rio Tinto employees were killed when they impacted a mountain in the Andes. Parties in Peru could not agree if there was mechanical failure. The flight also encountered bad weather.
The helicopter was leased by Evergreen International Aviation Helicopters which was based in McMinnville, in Multnomah County. Evergreen’s parent company filed for bankruptcy in 2015, but sold the helicopters division to Erickson Air Crane.
Officially, on March 3, 2008 the Bell 412EP #N417EV, owned by Evergreen Helicopters, Incorporated, and operated by Helinka S.A.C. impacted the Andes mountains 10 nautical miles west of Santa Cruz, Cajamarca, Peru. The United States certificated airline transport pilot, the Peruvian provisional co-pilot, and 10 passengers were fatally injured. According to the NTSB, the helicopter was operating on a company visual flight rules flight plan under Peruvian flight regulations. Eight miners from the Rio Tinto mine were en route to Chiclayo. The helicopter impacted about 3,500 feet above sea level, and was further destroyed by fire at 6 degrees, 38 minutes south latitude, 79 degrees, 10.5 minutes west longitude.
Lawyers initially filed the case in Multnomah County Circuit Court but it was dismissed. At the time, the court decided Peru was the better location for litigation.
Lawyers appealed, and the Oregon Court of Appeals sent the case back to Multnomah.