AND a record settlement of $100 million (€91.4m, £79m) will be paid to the family of a young Briton who died in February 2018 after a tourist helicopter crashed over them. Grand Canyon. The plane crash claimed the lives of four other people, including the then thirty-one-year-old new bride Jonathan Udallwhose parents will receive compensation, and three of their friends.
A Nevada court ruled on it. According to a judge in Las Vegas, just under a quarter— 24.6 million – the amount will be paid Papillon Airways Inc.operator of tourist services, while paying the remaining 75.4 million Helicopter Airbus Sasvehicle manufacturer.
Indemnified Family Lawyer – Gary C. Robb – explained that he insisted on the need to publish the terms of the agreement in order to raise public awareness of the problem of the fragility of aircraft fuel tanks, which are prone to rupture.
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“The tank behaved like an incendiary bomb,” explained the lawyer. After the crash, the helicopter, as Airbus EC130 B4, it started burning. Three of the passengers, themselves British, died instantly. Udall, originally from Brighton and his wife Ellie Milward (29) initially survived, but with very serious burns, which in the case of the man covered 90 percent of his body. He died 12 days later, she died shortly after.
The family’s lawyers successfully argued that the helicopter manufacturer and the tour operator were at fault for not installing a fireproof tank on the plane, and that, on the other hand, their client’s son would not have suffered similar and catastrophic burns if the device had been installed.
Safe tanks mandatory from 2020
L’United States Federal Aviation Administration requires the installation of fire tanks on aircraft from 2020. Attorney Robb explained that many helicopter manufacturers have replaced fireproof containers on existing aircraft, while others have not. “The gasoline spilled on the passengers and caught fire, which was horrible,” Robb said. “The three passengers on the right side of the helicopter burned alive in their seats.”
As for themselves, the representatives of the two companies, through a statement released by one of their representatives, said that they hope that by publicizing the measure, they will encourage manufacturers to implement safety standards of vehicles in production and operation in a way that “no other pair of parents should suffer a similar loss, what this family suffered”.
Incident at Hualapai Reservation
The tragic flight started from Boulder City, Nevadafly over the reserve Hualapai, the area of the Grand Canyon outside the territorial boundaries of the national park. The accident occurred shortly before sunset, during the landing.
The National Transportation Safety Board said wind turbulence was the likely cause of the helicopter’s unexpected loss of altitude. A final report in January 2021 found a lack of evidence of mechanical problems, but also highlighted the absence of fireproof tanks. As already mentioned, at that time neither operators nor manufacturers had a legal obligation to install this type of equipment. Papillion Airways has since replaced the systems with tanks that automatically expand and seal in the event of an impact instead of rupturing.