A helicopter crashed onto the roof of an office building in Midtown Manhattan and burst into flames killing one person. According to a report in The New York Times, only one person, the pilot of the helicopter, was on board the chopper when it hit the roof of the 51-story building on Seventh Avenue. The crash unnerved New Yorkers who wondered if the incident was an accident or a terrorist attack, rekindling memories of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks when terrorists hijacked jetliners and commandeered them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, killing thousands.
A worker in the building said the crash shook the building and it felt like a “small earthquake.” Officials said the helicopter had taken off from a heliport on the East River at 34th Street, 11 minutes before it crashed onto the roof. The helicopter’s home base was an airport in Linden, New Jersey. The pilot, who was killed in the crash, worked for the helicopter’s owner who reportedly commutes to the city from upstate New York. There were a number of reports of the helicopter flying erratically near the East river not long before the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the crash.
Recent Helicopter Crashes in NYC
Helicopter crashes have occurred previously in New York City. Five people died after a helicopter crashed into the East River off of Manhattan the night of March 11, 2018. In that incident, the helicopter was flying along a popular sightseeing route for a view of the Manhattan skyline. However, those who saw that incident said the chopper was flying too fast and came down very quickly. The helicopter lost altitude as if it were landing on solid ground, but ended up plunging into the river. The pilot managed to climb to the top of the wreckage and was rescued.
In 2011, three tourists died after a chopper crashed into the East River while two others survived. In 2004, a WNBC news helicopter crashed onto a roof in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn while covering a shooting. However, in that crash, all three people on board survived. In 2009, a helicopter carrying five Italian tourists was struck by a single-engine airplane over the Hudson River. In that crash, everyone on both aircrafts died.
Why Do Helicopter Accidents Occur?
Helicopter crashes may be rare. But when they occur, they can cause catastrophic injuries or fatalities. There are a number of reasons why helicopter accidents occur. Operator error or human error is often a factor here. When a pilot fails to operate the aircraft in accordance with its operational limitations or operates in unsafe weather or environmental conditions, the consequences can be devastating. Mechanical malfunction is another common cause of helicopter crashes. When a helicopter part stops working and/or a system failure results, a crash may occur. Mechanical malfunctions may happen due to improper design of the aircraft, inadequate testing, manufacturing defects, inadequate quality control, improper use and poor maintenance, etc.
Who is Liable?
Often, liability for helicopter accidents may be shared among a number of different parties depending on the cause of the accident and the circumstances under which it occurred. For example, if the crash occurred due to a mechanical malfunction caused by inadequate or improper maintenance, the company or individual who owns the helicopter as well as the entity charged with its maintenance (if different) can be held liable. In some cases, where the helicopter crash was caused by a faulty part, the manufacturer of the helicopter and/or the maker of the defective part can be held accountable.
In addition, depending on the circumstances, other parties that may be held liable include, but are not limited to, air traffic controllers, airfield or helicopter pad owners, maintenance companies, etc. Those who have lost loved ones in a helicopter accident may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault parties for damages including, but not limited to, lost future income and benefits, funeral and burial costs, pain and suffering, etc.
Compensation for Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured in a helicopter crash, or if you have lost a loved one in an aviation accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
For over 47 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims get fair compensation for their losses. Our law firm has recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
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