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NYC Helicopter Pilot Sued for Negligence After Fatal Crash

It's tragic when people die in an accident, but even more upsetting when you feel that the tragedy could've been avoided. Nancy and Jerry Cardigan, the parents of one of the victims who died in a helicopter crash in New York City's East River, feel that negligence led to their son's death. So, they have filed a lawsuit against the helicopter pilot and the tour company.

How Did This Tragedy Occur?

Five passengers and a helicopter pilot went up in a helicopter on Sunday to take photos. Unfortunately, the helicopter crashed into the East River and everyone, except the pilot, drowned. According to officials, the passengers were tightly harnessed into their seats because the doors had been left open so they could get better photos. The pilot was able to free himself from his harness, but the passengers remained harnessed, and ended up drowning when the helicopter flipped over and submerged into the water. Officials said that the open doors led to the helicopter being filled up with water quickly.

The pilot told investigators from the New York Police Department that "a passenger's harness somehow got wrapped around the fuel shut-off switch, accidentally cutting off the fuel supply to the helicopter and resulting in engine failure." However, the Cardigans' lawyer, who has been specializing in helicopter crashes for 37 years, said that explanation sounded unlikely. The lawyer also stated that "open door helicopters are death traps."

Holding People Responsible for Being Negligent

In their lawsuit, the Cardigans are claiming that the pilot not only failed to give the passengers a proper safety briefing, but also was "careless in failing to take reasonable steps to extricate the passengers" after he was able to free himself from the harness. The Cardigans are also claiming that Liberty Helicopters "failed to prepare the passengers properly in the event of a crash and that the company did not provide adequate maintenance on its helicopter to keep it from tipping over."

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