Helicopter Crash Victim’s Family Settles Lawsuit

Helicopter crash victim’s family settles lawsuit.
Several other cases are pending against the company that operated the aircraft.

Reporter: Rob Shikina
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
March 14, 2014

A lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of a Toronto man killed in a Blue Hawaiian Helicopters crash on Molokai was settled for an undisclosed amount Tuesday in Hawaii, according to the family’s lawyers.

Stuart Robertson and four others were killed in the Nov. 10, 2011, tour helicopter crash.

“I commend Blue Hawaiian for stepping up and resolving this claim,” Texas-based attorney Michael Slack said in a news release. “Stuart Robertson was an innocent passenger and his family did not deserve to suffer further grief.”

Also killed were pilot Nathan Cline of Kahului; Robertson’s companion, Eva Birgitta Wannersjo of Toronto; and newlyweds Nicole Bevilacqua and Mike Abel of Pennsylvania.

Honolulu attorney Rick Fried, co-counsel for Robertson’s family, is also co-counsel for the Bevilacqua and Abel families in lawsuits against the company. Those cases have not been resolved, he said. The family of Robertson’s companion, Wannersjo, did not file a suit.

A case by Robertson’s family against the helicopter’s manufacturer is also pending in U.S. District Court, Fried said.

In 2011, Cline’s widow, Violeta Escobar, also sued European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., which manufactured the Eurocopter EC 130 B4 aircraft, its subsidiaries and Nevada Helicopter Leasing, which owned the helicopter.

Her lawsuit, which is still pending, claims the defendants knew or should have known about unreasonably dangerous design and manufacturing defects.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not issued its final report or identified a probable cause of the crash.

One witness told NTSB investigators he saw pieces falling from the helicopter as it descended. Another witness said the helicopter went “straight down” and hit the ground sideways.

The agency’s reports also examine the weather in the mountains near Pukoo at the time of the crash. One witness told investigators that the crash happened during a heavy squall.

In December, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters was acquired by Denver-based Air Methods Corp., the nation’s largest air medical transportation company, media reports said. A representative of Blue Hawaiian Helicopters did not immediately return a call for comment.

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