A car accident triggered a rescue effort by helicopter. Then a second accident, much worse than the first one, ended four lives and left a young woman with a lifelong injury.
The second accident is the subject of lawsuits filed by the families of the victims killed in a helicopter crash, as well as a personal injury suit filed by the lone survivor.
The accidents took place in Maryland in September of 2008. Two teenagers were injured in a car crash; a Maryland State Trooper helicopter then came to the rescue.
In a lawsuit filed by the state of Maryland against the Federal Aviation Administration, it's alleged that air traffic controllers were negligent in their communications with the helicopter.
The state claims that Andrews Air Force Base air traffic controllers weren't properly equipped to handle requests for airport radar to guide aircraft onto runways, and that they gave the state police helicopter pilot hours-old weather information.
Killed in the helicopter crash were the 59-year-old pilot, a 34-year-old trooper and flight paramedic, a 39-year-old trooper and EMT, and a 17-year-old girl who had been in the car accident. The helicopter crashed in District Heights, a suburb of Washington D.C.
The weather that day was foggy, which prevented the pilot from taking the pair injured in the car accident directly to a nearby hospital.
According to the Southern Maryland News, when the pilot asked an Andrews air traffic controller for airport ground radar, he was told she wasn't able to provide it to him.
The lone survivor has filed a $50 million personal injury lawsuit against the FAA. She had to have her right leg amputated as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.
Resource: Southern Maryland News: "Md. sues federal agency over 2008 'copter crash": January 19, 2011