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Second wrongful death suit in fatal Las Vegas helicopter tour crash

In our Dec. 14 blog post, we discussed a wrongful death lawsuit filed against a Las Vegas-area tour company by the relatives of two of the victims of a Dec. 7 helicopter crash. Now the family of the other couple killed in the incident, the Washington Post is reporting. The attorney representing the plaintiffs in both suits said the helicopter made an "erratic and abnormal" flight pattern shortly before going down.

The defendant in both suits is Sundance Helicopters Inc., a Las Vegas sightseeing business. A pair of married couples went on a helicopter ride put on by the company to travel over Lake Mead National Recreational Area near the Hoover Dam. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the helicopter, a six-seat Aerospatiale AS350-B2, climbed as high as 800 feet in the air before something went wrong.

The pilot, who also died in the accident, never made an emergency call as the craft fell toward the earth. Evidence suggests that the engine was not dead at the time of the crash. The plaintiffs' attorney said that either pilot error or mechanical failure was to blame.

The helicopter was built in 1989. The day before the accident, mechanics installed a new engine and servo-actuators in the tail and main rotor. A test flight and two tours were performed without incident just prior to the fatal incident.

The newest lawsuit was on behalf of a couple, both 49, who were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. The younger couple had just married and were on their honeymoon. The pilot, 31, had just gotten married in June.

Source: The Washington Post, "2nd wrongful death lawsuit filed in Las Vegas tour helicopter crash that killed 5 people," Dec. 29, 2011

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