Late Thursday there was a terrible helicopter crash in Western Maryland. The Robinson 44 Helicopter went down on Interstate 70 in Washington County, Maryland. Unfortunately, all 4 passengers on board were killed. Three of those killed were apparently employees of Advanced Helicopter Concepts in Frederick, MD. The fourth person was a passenger. The Highway was shut down while investigators investigated the crash. The chopper was apparently a commercial helicopter flying and owned by Marsan Aviation, Inc. which is a company in Wilmington, Delaware. Witnesses apparently saw the craft flying low and then saw a large arc of electricity in the air. This was most likely due to the helicopter striking a power-line (but needs further investigation/confirmation). Visibility may have been a factor in the crash due to fog. Although The R44 Model has been involved in several similar incidents recently, the other recent incidents did not result in crashes or fatalities. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) indicates that an incident occurred on July 13, 2009 in Marysville, CA when a R44 struck a powerline and was forced to land (there were no fatalities in this incident). On May 3, 2009 a Robinson R44 rotorcraft struck powerlines and was forced to land in Scottsdale, AZ. An R44 helicopter is believed to have crashed in Fenner NY on January 15, 2008 (there were no fatalities). An R44 helicopter crashed off of the Oregon Coast on August 14, 2006 in foggy weather.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those killed in this crash. The families of those involved in the crash should consider hiring a private investigator or lawyer to track down lay witnesses in Western Maryland who may have witnessed the crash, and to conduct an independent investigation. Although the FAA will investigate the crash site and the airplane, they do not always have the resources to locate fact witnesses and get statements close in time to the crash when people's memories are fresh. The legal claims for those killed, assuming they were working at the time of the crash, include claims for workman's compensation benefits, and the third party claims against the negligent third parties responsible for the crash (possibly the owner of the helicopter, maintenance companies who did work on the aircraft, and parts manufacturers that may have malfunctioned (negligence claims, product liability claims, and strict liability claims). The dependants of those Advanced Helicopter Concepts employees killed are entitled to death benefits under Maryland workman's compensation law. For more information about the benefits available under Maryland workers compensation law.
Of course the more significant claim is for negligence and product liability, Maryland wrongful death claims, and survival claims against the responsible third parties that caused or contributed to the crash. Our team of lawyers provide a free consultation to victims of catastrophic airplane crashes, and if we are hired to handle the case, there is no attorney fee owed unless and until there is a recovery (we work on a contingent fee). Our lawyers can be reached at 301-589-2999, or toll free at 888-213-8140.