Emergency Landing Injuries Results in Helicopter Tour Crash Lawsuit
Case Title: Hicks v. Blue Hawaiian
On January 17, 2016, an Airbus EC130 T2 helicopter with registration number N11VQ operated by Blue Hawaiian experienced a sudden loss of engine power due to a broken fuel line, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing. All six passengers suffered serious injuries. At the time of the engine failure, the helicopter was flying over the rugged Napali coast with high mountains to one side, a small beach, and an ocean with high waves below the helicopter.
The pilot turned back to the shore and was ultimately able to crash-land the helicopter on a sandy beach. The passengers spent approximately one minute in as the helicopter fell toward the ocean and rocky terrain without engine power.
The pilot held a commercial certificate with a helicopter rating. As of the time of the accident, he had 4,550 total flight hours, with 2,500 hours in the Airbus EC 130 helicopter. This tour helicopter was configured with six passengers and a single pilot seat. The seats were carbon fiber bucket seats attached to seat legs and seatback supports. The supports contained energy-absorbing features as required by federal aviation regulations. When the seats were subjected to high-vertical loads, the bucket seat should move downward while the supports stretched and absorbed the energy. However, during the crash, some of the energy-absorbing seats failed to function properly, resulting in serious injuries to the passengers.
The company had the passengers view a safety video before the flight, and an employee helped to strap them into their seats correctly. Despite these measures, the pilot and all the passengers suffered vertebral compression injuries. Several passengers suffered sternum fractures as well. One passenger became a paraplegic.
Slack Davis Sanger represented all the passengers, including the family, who suffered tremendous medical bills, pain, suffering, and trauma on what was supposed to be a family vacation. This case was settled for a confidential amount.
Ladd Sanger is an attorney and a licensed pilot who focuses on aviation accidents, including product liability, product litigation, and representing clients who have been injured as a result of aviation accidents. His experience as a pilot helps him understand the technical aspects of aviation crashes.
Date of Incident
January 17, 2016
Location of Incident
Hawaii has seen 18 civilian helicopter crashes in the last five years - Hawaii News Now
NTSB releases preliminary report on helicopter’s hard landing on Kauai - Star Advertiser
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