Australian Family Sues Las Vegas Helicopter Company After Crash Landing

  • The family is seeking over $400,000 in damages as a result of significant injuries they suffered
  • The lawsuit alleges the pilot lost control of the helicopter while attempting to land
  • Papillon Grand Canyon Tours was involved in a crash in 2018 that killed five tourists
  • Investigations are ongoing to determine the true cause of the December crash
View from inside a helicopter on a Grand Canyon tour
An Australian family is suing a tour company following a helicopter crash during a Grand Canyon tour. [Image:]

Seeking accountability

An Australian family who suffered injuries following a crash landing at the Boulder City Municipal Airport at the end of a helicopter sightseeing tour in Nevada is suing the tour company. Four members of the Rakic family were hurt in the December crash and are seeking over $400,000 in damages. Some of the injuries they are said to have suffered include significant spinal injuries, head injuries, trauma, and bone fractures.

alleges that the accident was caused by the pilot losing control

The civil complaint, filed Monday, alleges that the accident was caused by the pilot losing control while attempting to land. Their family’s attorney, Brittany Sanders Robb, claims that Papillon Grand Canyon Tours “has a history of ill-fated helicopter flights involving its sight-seeing tours.”

Not the first crash

Both Papillon Grand Canyon Tours and its parent company, Papillon Airways Inc., are defendants in the case. Both face allegations of liability and negligence.

Papillon Grand Canyon Tours has been in business since 1965 and operates helicopter tours 364 days per year.

Papillon was involved in a crash in February 2018 that resulted in the deaths of five British tourists. Two other people were critically injured and the pilot had to have both legs amputated. The cause of that particular crash was put down to unexpected tailwinds, turbulence, and possible downdrafts.

Investigations are ongoing

Papillon Grand Canyon Tours president Jake Tomlin announced on Wednesday that the company is completely cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation into the incident to determine what the actual cause of the accident was. He did not mention anything about the family’s lawsuit.

seven people suffered injuries

The December 27 crash was originally deemed to be a “hard landing” by the NTSB and local emergency responders. The Federal Aviation Administration called the incident a crash landing. Seven people suffered injuries; the other three people are not part of this lawsuit.

A preliminary report from the NTSB said that substantial damage was caused due to the collapse of the helicopter’s landing skids and the tail boom then striking the ground.

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