CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – Less than a month after a fiery helicopter crash in Summit County, a lawsuit has been filed.
On July 3 in Frisco a flight for life helicopter slammed to the ground just seconds after it took off. The pilot, Patrick Mahany, was killed and two crew members were seriously injured after the helicopter reportedly began spinning out of control and crashed and ruptured the fuel tank, causing it to explode.
The company that operated that helicopter, Air Methods Corp., is based at Centennial Airport near Denver, and is named in that lawsuit along with Airbus Helicopters, the manufacturer.
The lawsuit claims the mechanics who would have maintained the helicopter did not properly inspect and repair the helicopter for service.
“The witness reports were that the aircraft was rotating immediately upon takeoff. And we’ve concluded that it was a preventable accident,” said attorney Peter Rietz.
Mahany and his crew were flying in a $2 million Airbus B3e helicopter.
The lawsuit claims the crash was caused by a malfunction or defect in the helicopter’s tail rotor system (the propeller on the rear of the craft that keeps it from spinning like a top).
Rietz says everyone on board would have walked away after the landing if it weren’t for another malfunction in the fuel tank.
“My clients sincerely hope that this will never happen to anybody again and whatever safety problems there are with that chopper can be fixed,” he said.
The National Transportation Safety Board hasn’t completed an investigation into the crash.
Dave Repsher and Matt Bowe were the on-board flight nurses who survived the crash. They both were severely injured.
Repsher suffered burns over most of his body. He’s being treated at University of Colorado Hospital’s burn unit.
Bowe is permanently injured and has been released from Craig Hospital in Englewood.
“It’s a loss. It’s a huge loss, and they don’t want to see anybody else go through what they and their families are going through now,” Rietz said. “So we need to fix the problems.”
The lawsuit doesn’t outline the monetary damages for the paramedics.
A funding site is trying to raise $50,000 to help cover some of the medical expenses. They are still nearly $20,000 away from their goal.