Swan & Cho v. Heligunner
In September 2017, a Hughes 369A helicopter with registration number N59MP made a hard landing on a road below. The helicopter had been taking passengers on a feral hog hunt when the incident occurred. The flight was en route to Burnet Municipal Airport when the engine lost power. The helicopter sustained substantial damage, while the two passengers were injured, one seriously. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time.
The helicopter was owned by Lyft, LLC. The pilot possessed a commercial certificate with a helicopter rating. According to witnesses, the helicopter had been flying on an aerial hog hut with two other passengers before it landed and switched passengers. As they were flying over various areas hunting, the pilot turned back for the airport and lost power. The pilot was able to set the helicopter down on US Highway 281, but it came down hard. The fuselage and tailboom of the helicopter were substantially damaged. One passenger suffered from a broken ankle and facial lacerations. The other had multiple broken bones including his tailbone and ankle. He required surgery to set his ankle properly.
The investigation into the incident showed that the helicopter ran out of gas while flying. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated that the pilot did not correctly judge the amount of time he had spent in the air and the amount of fuel he would need to reach the airport. The pilot did not return the forms requested by the NTSB.
Slack Davis Sanger is representing both of the passengers impacted by this negligent incident in an ongoing case.
Date of Incident
September 2, 2017
Location of Incident
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