Negligence in medical helicopter crash
Lawsuits claim negligence in medical helicopter crash that killed four in NC
This aerial view shows the wreckage of a Duke Health System medical helicopter, which crashed in Perquimans County in Eastern North Carolina in September.
RALEIGH - Lawsuits filed Monday over a medical helicopter crash that killed four in North Carolina are alleging negligence and pointing to a warning issued by federal aviation safety officials.
The two lawsuits refer to a Federal Aviation Administration bulletin last month that the Sept. 8 crash in North Carolina and an earlier one in South Dakota in January may be related to the same problem in the type of Airbus helicopter. The FAA last month alerted owners, operators and repair facilities of a possible problem with blockage in the engine oil drainage system.
"A blocked drain line may, under certain circumstances, present a risk for an engine fire and/or inflight shutdown of the affected engine," the FAA's airworthiness information bulletin said.
The lawsuits were filed in Durham County, the destination of the Duke Life Flight helicopter carrying patient Mary Bartlett from an Elizabeth City hospital. The crash 12 minutes after takeoff killed Bartlett, nurse Kris Harrison, another nurse and the pilot.
The families of Barlett and Harrison sued the pilot, the helicopter's manufacturer and owner, and the maker of the chopper's engines.