Jacksonville, Florida Medical Transport Helicopter Crash

Bell 206 Helicopter used in Organ Transplant procurement Crash Kills Doctor and 2 others on board

On December 26, 2011 a Bell 206 helicopter flying from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, to Shands, Florida crashed because of poor visibility and weather conditions, killing all on board.

The Bell 206 medical helicopter was on route to pick up a heart transplant at a Gainesville Hospital when the crashed occurred.  The crash killed Dr. Luis Bonilla, a heart surgeon, David Hines, an organ procurement technician, and Pilot E. Hoke Smith, of St. Augustine based SK Logistics Company.  The medical transport helicopter company operates as SK Jets and its fleet operates from the St. Augustine airport.

Due to weather conditions, the pilot of the Bell 206 helicopter became spatially disoriented causing him to strike a 50 foot pine tree and several other trees as it crashed in a wooded area about 12 miles northeast of the Palatka Municipal Airport.

Due to the crash, the heart was not able to be transported to Jacksonville and finding a new match for the heart would have taken longer than the four hour window between the harvest and the transplant operation.

The Pilot E. Hoke Smith was a decorated veteran of combat missions in Vietnam.  Mr. Smith routinely flew medical transport flights, primarily during holidays when he gave his employees time off from his company SK Logistics.

Mother of Dead Teen Sues FAA Over Helicopter Crash

Medevac Crash Survivor Sues Federal Government For $50M

GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ) — She was the sole survivor and now she wants tens of millions of dollars.  Jordan Wells filed a federal lawsuit against the FAA and air traffic controller following a 2008 Medevac helicopter crash that killed four and left Wells alone on the ground and in pain.

 Wells and her friend Ashley Younger were on their way home from a carnival on a rain-slicked road when they crashed after Wells lost control of the car.  They were airlifted to the hospital but never made it.

 The helicopter crashed near Andrews Air Force Base, killing Younger, the pilot, a flight paramedic and an emergency medical technician.  Wells lay there, alone.

 “I remember looking up at the sky, at the stars and I just prayed to God,” she said.  “I said, ‘God, please send someone to save me.’”

In the weeks that followed, Wells underwent 20 surgeries and the crash investigation underwent intense scrutiny.

Among the findings: a multitude of causes, including outdated weather information and a pilot not proficient in instrument-landing approaches.  For that reason, Wells’ attorneys are now asking for $50 million in damages.

There was no response from the attorneys about the lawsuit. 

The state has instituted new rules for medical evaluations, including adding a second pilot and paramedic on every flight and replacing outdated helicopters.


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If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a helicopter crash, then call us 24/7 for an immediate consultation to discuss the details of the accident and learn what we can do to help protect your legal rights. Whether the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the helicopter owner, hospital or corporation, the manufacturer or due to lack of training, poor maintenance, pilot or operator error, tail rotor failure, sudden loss of power, defective electronics or engine failure or flying in bad weather conditions, we can investigate the case and provide you the answers you need. Call Toll Free 1-800-883-9858 and talk to a Board Certified Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of legal experience or fill out our online form by clicking below:

Lone survivor of 2008 Medevac helicopter crash files $50 million lawsuit

The sole survivor of a 2008 Maryland State Police helicopter crash in District Heights has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration, alleging negligence on the part of air traffic controllers.

Jordan Wells, 20, of Waldorf filed the suit Dec. 7 with the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in Greenbelt.

The suit states that before the Sept. 27, 2008, crash, the FAA traffic controllers who were based at Joint Base Andrews gave Maryland State Police pilot Stephen J. Bunker dated information on weather conditions, failed to guide him in the Trooper 2 helicopter to a safe landing as navigation equipment began to falter and did not alert paramedics to the scene of the crash.

Wells, who was 18 at the time, survived the crash into a wooded area of Walker Mill Regional Park in District Heights but lost her right leg as a result.

Bunker, 59, of Waldorf; Trooper 1st Class Mickey C. Lippy, 34, of Westminster, a state police flight paramedic; Tonya Mallard, 39, of Waldorf, an EMT for the Waldorf Volunteer Rescue Squad; and Ashley J. Younger, 17, of Waldorf, died in the crash.

Wells’ attorney said that she is “scarred from head to toe” and has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and feelings of survivor guilt. She has had to learn how to walk again and drives a modified vehicle, he said.

Wells’ lawsuit is the third related to the crash. Kenneth Mallard, husband of Tonya Mallard, filed a $7 million suit against the FAA on July 21 in federal court that also claims the FAA did not ensure Trooper 2’s safe landing. Mickey Lippy’s widow, Christina P. Lippy of Westminster, sued the FAA in March in federal court for $15 million on behalf of her husband.

Prior to the crash, Trooper 2 picked up Younger and Wells, who were involved in a vehicle crash in Waldorf. The helicopter was originally going to fly to Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, but foggy weather conditions forced them to reroute to Joint Base Andrews, where an ambulance waited to transport them to Prince George’s Hospital Center.

Bunker was unable to pick up a glideslope, a navigation system to help guide an aircraft to the runway, during flight. While in contact with the air traffic controller at Andrews’ tower, the controller replied, “It’s [the glideslope] showing green on the panel, but you’re the only aircraft we’ve had in a long time, so I don’t really know if it’s working or not,” court documents state.

An Andrews FAA air traffic controller told Bunker just before midnight that she could not provide him with “airport surveillance radar approach,” radar that gives an aircraft vertical and lateral guidance to safely reach the runway, court documents state. No additional attempts were made with Trooper 2 shortly before it crashed, court documents state. Whether the air traffic controller who discussed the glideslope with Bunker is the same one who could not provide the radar service is not stated in court documents.

The suit claims that air traffic controllers never called to say the last-known coordinates of the helicopter, and that Wells’ leg could have been saved if she had not been in the woods for two hours with the helicopter laying across her legs as paramedics struggled to find the aircraft’s location.

“The infection set in because she was sitting in the mud with an open wound,” said her attorney, who added that to date Wells has had 30 surgeries related to injuries she suffered in the crash.

“She may have to lose the other leg as well because of the complications she’s been dealing with.”

FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac said she could not comment on any of the pending litigation.

Contact a Helicopter Lawyer

If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a helicopter crash, then call us 24/7 for an immediate consultation to discuss the details of the accident and learn what we can do to help protect your legal rights. Whether the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the helicopter owner, hospital or corporation, the manufacturer or due to lack of training, poor maintenance, pilot or operator error, tail rotor failure, sudden loss of power, defective electronics or engine failure or flying in bad weather conditions, we can investigate the case and provide you the answers you need. Call Toll Free 1-800-883-9858 and talk to a Board Certified Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of legal experience or fill out our online form by clicking below:

Another Air Evac Lifeteam Helicopter Crash Kills Three in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Three medical evacuation helicopter crew members were killed early Tuesday when their helicopter crashed while enroute to a traffic crash to evacuate a victim in central Arkansas . A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman stated that the Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter crashed at approximately 4:00 a.m. near the community of Scotland in Van Buren County, Arkansas.  Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were on site at the crash site conducting the investigation. Apparently there were no distress calls from the helicopter. Scotland is about 80 miles north of Little Rock in central Arkansas.

Arkansas Air Evac Lifeteam Helicopter Crash Site

Air Evac Lifeteam Helicopter Crash Site in Arkansas

Pilot Kenneth Robertson, flight nurse Kenneth Meyer, Jr., and flight paramedic Gayla Gregory all were killed, according to an Air Evac spokesman. Van Buren County Coroner Dorothy Branscum said the victims were killed on impact. “I would say they might’ve seen it coming, but that was it. The helicopter was just melted and it was just in pieces,” according to Branscum.

Investigators said autopsies, which were to be performed by the state medical examiner’s office, would help determine whether a medical emergency among the crew could have caused the accident. It also was too early to say whether “a mechanical anomaly” caused the helicopter to break up in the air, or if the aircraft struck trees that caused parts to fall off as it went down, according to a National Transportation Safety Board investigator Tuesday evening.

“They were flying under VFR (visual flight rules),” the FAA spokesman stated. “It also doesn’t appear they were talking to any air traffic controllers at the time.” No patients were aboard the helicopter. The Bell 206 helicopter, built in 1978, was registered to Air Evac EMS Inc. which is based in West Plains, Missouri.

According to the Walnut Grove Fire Department, the department alarm went off just before 4 a.m. with firefighters on the scene about eight minutes later. They found burning wreckage and immediately began work to see if there were any survivors. The wreckage was scattered around the area with the main part of the helicopter in the woods next to a clearing near the Walnut Grove Church.

The crew was based in Vilonia, Arkansas. Air Evac operates Med Evac helicopter services in 13 states and has experienced several fatal helicopter crashes in recent years.  In March of 2010, three medi-vac helicopter crew members were killed in a helicopter crash in Tennessee. In 2008, an Air Evac helicopter crashed in an Indiana cornfield killing three people. In 2007, another three-member crew was killed when an Air Evac helicopter crashed in Colbert County, Alabama.

“This is a tragic day for us here at Air Evac Lifeteam,” the spokesman said. “These were members of our family and we are devastated at this loss. Our focus at this time is on providing support for the family and friends of these helicopter crew members.”

Contact a Helicopter Lawyer

If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a helicopter crash, then call us 24/7 for an immediate consultation to discuss the details of the accident and learn what we can do to help protect your legal rights. Whether the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the helicopter owner, hospital or corporation, the manufacturer or due to lack of training, poor maintenance, pilot or operator error, tail rotor failure, sudden loss of power, defective electronics or engine failure or flying in bad weather conditions, we can investigate the case and provide you the answers you need. Call Toll Free 1-800-883-9858 and talk to a Board Certified Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of legal experience or fill out our online form by clicking below:

Push on for Safety Rules After Fatal Arkansas Medevac Helicopter Crash

By Alan Levin, USA TODAY

Arkansas Air Ambulance CrashAn air ambulance helicopter crashed into a wooded area of Arkansas early Tuesday, killing all three crewmembers and raising the death toll in the industry to 22 in the past year.The Air Evac Lifeteam chopper was flying to pick up a victim of a traffic accident when it hit trees and crashed, bursting into flames about 4:30 a.m., Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman Lynn Lunsford said. The pilot and two medical crewmembers died, he said.

The crash, near the town of Scotland, is the latest in a surge of accidents and fatalities. The past year has seen 14 accidents involving air ambulance helicopters, eight fatal, government statistics show. Since June, four crashes have killed 10 people.

Advocates for safety improvements said the crash is further evidence of the need for stiff new requirements on medevac flights.

“There is a long way to go and we’re not there yet,” said Stacey Friedman, whose sister, flight nurse Erin Reed, died in a 2005 crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is heading the investigation into Tuesday’s crash, has issued numerous suggested safety improvements for the industry in recent years. The agency has no regulatory authority. The FAA, which oversees the industry, is writing new rules but will not unveil them until fall. Congress has several bills addressing safety, but those have stalled in a deadlock over FAA’s funding.

Dan Hankins, a physician who directs a hospital air-ambulance program and is president of the Association of Air Medical Services, said he supports adoption of the NTSB’s recommendations. However, he acknowledged that not all of the companies in his organization back the recommendations.

The NTSB wants new requirements for equipment that can help prevent pilots from getting disoriented in poor visibility, better pilot training and improved internal monitoring for safety lapses.

Contact a Helicopter Lawyer

If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a helicopter crash, then call us 24/7 for an immediate consultation to discuss the details of the accident and learn what we can do to help protect your legal rights. Whether the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the helicopter owner, hospital or corporation, the manufacturer or due to lack of training, poor maintenance, pilot or operator error, tail rotor failure, sudden loss of power, defective electronics or engine failure or flying in bad weather conditions, we can investigate the case and provide you the answers you need. Call Toll Free 1-800-883-9858 and talk to a Board Certified Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of legal experience or fill out our online form by clicking below:

Widower of EMT in Air Ambulance Helicopter Crash Sues FAA in Lawsuit

The widower of a Waldorf emergency medical technician who perished in a September 2008 medevac air ambulance helicopter crash in District Heights has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the federal government, alleging that air traffic controller negligence in failing to guide the aircraft to a safe landing led to the death of his wife.

Kenneth Mallard, whose wife, Tonya Mallard, 39, of Waldorf was an EMT for the Waldorf Volunteer Rescue Squad, filed a $7 million federal lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration on July 21st, 2010 in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. The lawsuit claims the FAA did not do everything necessary to ensure a safe landing for the Maryland State Police Trooper 2 air ambulance helicopter. The attorney for Kenneth Mallard stated that Mr. Mallard deserves to be compensated because of the negligence of the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic controllers.

Tonya Mallard was one of four people who died on Sept. 27, 2008, aboard the air ambulance helicopter that crashed into a wooded area of Walker Mill Regional Park.

State police pilot Stephen J. Bunker, 59, of Waldorf; Trooper 1st Class Mickey C. Lippy, 34, of Westminster; and Ashley J. Younger, 17, of Waldorf also died in the crash. Jordan Wells of Waldorf, then 18, was the lone crash survivor. He later filed a $50 million personal-injury lawsuit against the FAA that was denied.

In May 2010, Lippy’s widow, Christina P. Lippy of Westminster, also filed a lawsuit against the FAA for $15 million on behalf of her husband, a Maryland State Police flight paramedic.

The Mallard lawsuit states that Tonya Mallard and all of the occupants should have been properly warned about adverse weather conditions and that she suffered “pre-impact fright” because she was aware of the difficulties Bunker had with navigating the helicopter before she died from the impact of the crash. FAA air traffic controllers gave him outdated flight visibility information that made navigation difficult for Bunker, court documents state.

The helicopter came from a vehicle crash in Waldorf that involved Younger and Wells and was en route to Joint Base Andrews near Camp Springs, where an ambulance was waiting to transport them to Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly. Foggy weather conditions prevented the helicopter from going directly to Prince George’s Hospital Center.

During the flight Bunker could not pick up a GlideScope, a navigation system to help guide an aircraft to the runway. While in contact with the air traffic controller at Andrews’ tower, the controller replied, “It’s [the GlideScope] showing green on the panel, but you’re the only aircraft we’ve had in a long time, so I don’t really know if it’s working or not,” court documents state.

Shortly before midnight, Bunker requested ground-based radar called an “airport surveillance radar approach” to reach the runway, but was told by an FAA air traffic controller at Andrews that she could not give him that service, court documents state. The court documents did not indicate whether the air traffic controller who discussed the GlideScope with Bunker was the same one who could not provide “airport surveillance radar approach” service.

No more attempts were made to contact Bunker before the helicopter crashed in Walker Mill Regional Park.

A spokesman for the FAA Eastern Region office, stated that the FAA cannot comment on pending lawsuits such as Lippy’s and Mallard’s.

Contact a Helicopter Lawyer

If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a helicopter crash, then call us 24/7 for an immediate consultation to discuss the details of the accident and learn what we can do to help protect your legal rights. Whether the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the helicopter owner, hospital or corporation, the manufacturer or due to lack of training, poor maintenance, pilot or operator error, tail rotor failure, sudden loss of power, defective electronics or engine failure or flying in bad weather conditions, we can investigate the case and provide you the answers you need. Call Toll Free 1-800-883-9858 and talk to a Board Certified Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of legal experience or fill out our online form by clicking below:

Arizona LifeNet Air Ambulance Helicopter Crash Kills Three

Arizona Air Ambulance Helicopter Crash Kills Three
TUCSON – A LifeNet air ambulance helicopter operated by Air Methods Corporation crashed near Park & Glenn Avenue Wednesday afternoon. Three crew members on board the helicopter died as a result of injuries sustained when it crashed into a yard in midtown Tucson at 1:40 p.m. Air Methods Corporation says the EuroCopter AS350 was based in Douglas.

The pilot has been identified as 61-year-old Alexander Kelley. Kelley was an experienced pilot, and had been with Air Methods since 2002. The paramedic has been identified as 28-year-old Brenda French, and the flight nurse as 41-year-old Parker Summons.  They were en route from Marana to Douglas. No patients were on board at the time of the crash.

An eyewitness said that the helicopter’s engine stalled then, started back up again.  According to the witness, “When it started back up he turned it to the other side, tried to get it back up but it just slammed down.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident.  Company officials are en route to the area.

In a statement, Aaron Todd, the CEO of Air Methods Corporation said, “This is a sad day for all of us at Air Methods and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of our employees who perished while on duty.”

Contact a Helicopter Lawyer

If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a helicopter crash, then call us 24/7 for an immediate consultation to discuss the details of the accident and learn what we can do to help protect your legal rights. Whether the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the helicopter owner, hospital or corporation, the manufacturer or due to lack of training, poor maintenance, pilot or operator error, tail rotor failure, sudden loss of power, defective electronics or engine failure or flying in bad weather conditions, we can investigate the case and provide you the answers you need. Call Toll Free 1-800-883-9858 and talk to a Board Certified Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of legal experience or fill out our online form by clicking below:

Tucson LifeNet Medical Helicopter Crash Kills 3

A Tucson medivac helicopter crash has left three people dead, the Associated Press and local Arizona media are reporting. The latest AP reports list the status of one person as dead, and two others as injured, but the AZ Daily Star is reporting that the other two crash victims died as they were being transported to the hospital for treatment. It was later confirmed that all three people onboard were either killed on impact, or died shortly after the crash.

Just after 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, numerous 911 calls were made reporting the Tucson helicopter crash. The LifeNet medical helicopter, which was reportedly en route from Marana to Douglas before it crashed Wednesday afternoon, slammed into the ground and nearly into a house. The Tucson helicopter crash Wednesday took place near Glenn and Grant Road, just north of the University of Arizona campus.

According to the Associated Press, a witness indicated the rotor may have seized and left those aboard the LifeNet helicopter powerless to help themselves before crashing. The Tucson helicopter crash did not cause any injuries on the ground, and there were no patients in the helicopter. LifeNet is a non-profit which primarily deals with transporting organs for donation and transplant, according to LifeNet.com. The identities of the LifeNet personnel killed in today’s Tucson helicopter crash will be withheld from the public until the families can be notified.

A thorough on-scene investigation into today’s LifeNet helicopter crash is ongoing at this hour and may continue through Thursday, according to Arizona Daily Wildcat report. Tucson Police and Fire initially responded to the scene of the crash, and the FAA will join them to determine the cause of the crash.

Sources:

AZ Daily Star – 7/28/2010
Arizona Daily Wildcat – 7/28/2010
Associated Press
LifeNet.org

Contact a Helicopter Lawyer

If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a helicopter crash, then call us 24/7 for an immediate consultation to discuss the details of the accident and learn what we can do to help protect your legal rights. Whether the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the helicopter owner, hospital or corporation, the manufacturer or due to lack of training, poor maintenance, pilot or operator error, tail rotor failure, sudden loss of power, defective electronics or engine failure or flying in bad weather conditions, we can investigate the case and provide you the answers you need. Call Toll Free 1-800-883-9858 and talk to a Board Certified Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of legal experience or fill out our online form by clicking below:

2 Die in Oklahoma Medical Helicopter Crash

Oklahoma Medical Helicopter Crash

KINGFISHER, OK — Two people were killed and another was severely injured when an EagleMed medical helicopter crashed in Kingfisher County, according to Oklahoma Highway Patrol Spokesperson Chris West.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the EagleMed helicopter was en route from Intergris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City to an Okeene hospital 90 miles away when it went down, killing pilot Al Harrison and nurse Ryan Duke.

34-year-old Michael Eccard was stabilized and taken to OU Medical Center by helicopter. A spokeswoman at the OU Medical Center said he was in critical condition.  Eccard was the only survivor of the Thursday night helicopter crash.

The EagleMed helicopter crashed four miles south of Kingfisher just north of Okarche around 8 p.m. Thursday. The cause of the crash was unknown. 

Witnesses who saw the crash said they saw the helicopter go into a tail spin prior to clipping the tops of several trees.

The Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and OSBI are currently investigating the accident.

Contact a Helicopter Lawyer

If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a helicopter crash, then call us 24/7 for an immediate consultation to discuss the details of the accident and learn what we can do to help protect your legal rights. Whether the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the helicopter owner, hospital or corporation, the manufacturer or due to lack of training, poor maintenance, pilot or operator error, tail rotor failure, sudden loss of power, defective electronics or engine failure or flying in bad weather conditions, we can investigate the case and provide you the answers you need. Call Toll Free 1-800-883-9858 and talk to a Board Certified Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of legal experience or fill out our online form by clicking below: