Girardi | Keese

NTSB Announces Decision After Fatal 2011 Copter Crash, Part 1

After around a year and a half, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has announced the results of its investigation into a fatal helicopter crash that killed a pilot, a Mayo Clinic surgeon, and a medical technician in December 2011.

The crash apparently happened because the pilot made a bad judgment call. Instead of turning back when bad weather threatened the copter, he attempted to finish the flight. The helicopter was not rated for bad weather and this error caused it to go down in Florida, killing everyone on board.

NTSB speculated in its decision that financial pressures may have played a role, encouraging the pilot to take an unacceptable risk to avoid forfeiting his payment for the trip.

In cases like this in which human error caused a fatal accident, liability for wrongful death does not end with the pilot. Instead, the pilot's employer is often responsible to the family of the victims.

Check back later for more on this rule, known as respondeat superior.

Source: Modern Healthcare, "NTSB rules in 2011 Mayo Clinic helicopter crash," Jennifer Kay, June 19, 2013

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