Aviation Claims

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Case of 2008 Crash of Bell Chopper in Peru Revived in Oregon Court

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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.

Husband of Akron Plane Crash Victim Files Lawsuit Against Plane’s Owner

courtroomThe husband of Diana Suriel, one of the seven passengers killed in a plane crash last year, has filed a lawsuit against the plane’s owner in a Florida court.

The Hawker 125-700 plane went down on November 10th while it was attempting to land at Akron Fulton International Airport in Summit County, Ohio. There were nine people aboard at the time, including the pilot, the co-pilot, and seven passengers; all of them were killed in the crash.

The lawsuit filed by Diana’s husband Joel Castillo said that Rais Group International, that owned the plane, as well as ExecuFlight Inc., that leased it from the owner, allowed the pilots to fly the plane with defective equipment. It further alleges that the pilots did not have proper licenses and operated the aircraft at a dangerously low altitude that made the landing difficult.

Egyptian Resorts Lose $766 Million Since Metrojet Flight 9268 Crash

aviationFollowing the crash of Metrojet flight 9268 last year, Egypt’s Red Sea resorts have suffered losses of $766 million.

The Russian Airbus A321 plane went down on October 31, shortly after departing Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt. All 224 people aboard were killed in the crash.

Russia and many European countries suspended flights to Sharm-el-Sheikh following the incident.

South Sinai governor Khaled Fouda said on January 28, “The Red Sea resorts of Sharm-el-Sheikh and Hurghada have lost 6 billion pounds in the past three months.”

Moscow Court Dismisses Complaint Filed by Families of Metrojet Crash Victims

Justice scale on blue backgroundBasmanny District Court of Moscow, Russia, dismissed a complaint filed against the investigators working on Metrojet Flight 9268 crash.

The Airbus A321 crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on October 31st, killing all 224 aboard.

The complaint filed by the victims’ families accused the investigators of inaction. According to their lawyer Igor Trunov, no information has been given regarding the investigation and no one knows under which article the case is being investigated. He further said that the families had first requested the head of the Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, to look into the matter but he did not respond to them.

Family of Case Western Reserve University Student Killed in Plane Crash Files Wrongful Death Suit

Justice scale on blue backgroundThe family of 18-year-old Abraham Pishevar who was killed in a plane crash last year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the estate of the student pilot, the plane’s owner, and a fraternity at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

The Cessna 172R crashed minutes after taking off from Cuyahoga County Airport, Ohio, on August 25, 2014.

According to the lawsuit, the nighttime flight that Pishevar boarded along with three other students was a part of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity’s recruitment drive. The suit alleges that the flight club failed to inspect the aircraft properly before allowing it to take off and says 19-year-old William Felten should have known that he was not capable of piloting the plane safely.

The lawsuit has been filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and is seeking at least $75,000 in damages.

Sons of Woman Killed in Palm Coast Plane Crash Sue FAA

courtroomThe sons of Charisse Peoples, 42, who died in a small plane crash in Palm Coast, Florida, have filed a wrongful death suit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The plane crashed on January 4, 2013, into a house close to the Flagler airport, resulting in the death of pilot, Charisse Peoples and another passenger. According to the lawsuit, the FAA showed negligence when Air Traffic Controller (ATC) directed the pilot to Flagler County Airport, Florida.

ATC had said Flagler airport was 4 miles from the plane’s location. The lawsuit claims that Flagler airport was actually 8 miles away at the time, whereas the Ormond Beach Municipal Airport was comparatively near. Furthermore, ATC directed the pilot to take a number of turns before landing, despite knowing the plane had insufficient engine power.

Counting the Increasing Number of Victims: Hercules Crash in Indonesia

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One hundred and forty-two people (so far) were determined to have been killed by the Indonesian AF Lockheed C-130B Hercules that just crashed into a residential neighbourhood near Medan-Soewondo Air Force Base, Tuesday June 30. However fewer than that number were supposed to be aboard the plane. Initial numbers released were 12 crew and 101 passengers. Families said their relatives had paid to be on the aircraft, but that is in violation of Indonesian military regulations. Some of the twenty-nine additional bodies recovered from the wreckage may have been in the buildings that were impacted, but some were unauthorized passengers.

I wonder about compensation for those unofficial passengers–if they will get less or more as a consequence. They (maybe) thought they had legitimate tickets. In any case, they are just as dead as everyone else. Likely there will be punitive measures taken, but broken rules are not necessarily broken law. How will investigators determine who profited from those fraudulent tickets or instead, will the military be punished for poor oversight? This all remains to be seen. Let us hope that compensation for those families left behind will be just. Insurance companies use a compensation formula that covers pain suffered by those on board, and is determined by factors like age, dependents and earning potential. The international treaty known as the Montreal Convention guarantees a (floating) minimum level of compensation for families; but sometimes the operator, (like Lufthansa, for example, in the case of the Germanwings crash) will try to get by with paying less.

But we should not ever lose sight of the horror of this accident. Yesterday morning, one hundred and forty-two people were alive, and full of promise. Today they are history.

Germanwings Compensation Up In The Air

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Andreas Lubitz, the pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 was hiding an illness. What kind of illness it was has not been made public. Company policy requires they be notified of medical conditions such as mental illness that could affect flying or a pilot’s license.

As the co-pilot deliberately locked out the pilot, and crashed the plane after diverting autopilot’s path to crash into the French Alps, France is considering charging Lufthansa with manslaughter of the 150 aboard. If found guilty, that would mean compensation additional to what Allianz and other co-insurers are estimating the cost of Germanwings Flight 9525 could be. It could top a billion even without criminal charges..

(In the U.S., it would have amounted to as much as three times that.)

It will take over a year to settle, and the amount of payment to each family will be contingent on each country’s laws, as well as the Montreal Treaty. James Healy-Pratt (London’s Stewarts Law LLP) said between Germany, the US and France, German law has the lowest compensation rate.

Compensation amounts are figured by a specific formula and contingent on age and employment as well as country. An unemployed victim’s family could receive less than $100,000 as opposed to that of a high-income provider who could get over a million.

Watch this great explanation below of implementation of aviation compensation law based on what is known as the Montreal Treaty. The airline has to prove it did nothing wrong.

MH370 Expired beacon battery could be compensation key

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The interim report into the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER said the beacon battery for the flight data recorder expired in December 2012 and was not replaced. The expired battery could be crucial in legal action against Malaysia Airlines especially if the absence of a working battery adversely affected the search for the missing plane. Malaysia Airlines engineering department failed to properly update a computer system.

If crucial Malaysian Air Traffic Control personnel had been awake and alert, and MH370’s diversion from its correct route had been detected in a timely fashion, a dead battery in the plane’s beacon would certainly be a factor dooming the search for the missing plane.

Discussions have been ongoing between Australia, China and Malaysia on whether to call off the search.

* The beacon sends a signal if a crash occurs in water. The signal is only sent over a small area, and only lasts for a short period of time.

Widow Sues Helicopter Company after Husband’s Death in Crash

aviationA woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Westwind Helicopters Inc., of Santa Fe, Texas, in the death of her husband Rory R. Bourgeois.

According to the plaintiff Trinidad Bourgeois, her husband was travelling in the Galveston County based company’s helicopter on June 11, 2014. The helicopter crashed and Bourgeois’ body was found inside the wreckage, in the water.

The lawsuit, worth more than $1 million, claims that the company is responsible for the pilot’s alleged negligence.