The helicopter crash has all the indications of a loss of control problem
THE parents of a young Indian newlywed couple who died in a tourist helicopter crash near Las Vegas last week are suing the chopper company involved for negligence, lawyers said.
The deaths of Lovish Bhanot, 28, and his new wife Anupama Bhola, 26, was "every family`s worst nightmare," said attorney Gary Robb after filing papers in Clark County District Court in Nevada.
The legal action came after an initial investigation report said that the aircraft, operated by Sundance Helicopters, had inexplicably veered off course in the last minute before it crashed in a ravine.
The pilot and all four passengers died when the chopper they were taking to see the Hoover Dam, a popular tourist flight, crashed in mountains near the Nevada gambling city.
Bhanot was the managing director of Lyca Investment Ltd, a family-owned real estate company, and his wife was a stewardess for Air India, he said.
"The families are heartbroken by these deaths and they want answers," said Robb, a specialist in helicopter crash litigation, who is based in Kansas City, Missouri.
"This is every family`s worst nightmare, than an occasion of joy and celebration would turn into a needless tragedy," he added, saying the families hope that, through legal action, future similar crashes can be avoided.
Citing the initial National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report, the lawsuit claims that Sundance Helicopters were "negligent in failing to provide a proper and safe helicopter and/or proper and safe piloting to those aboard."
"This helicopter crash has all the indications of a loss of control problem which would have to be either mechanical or pilot-induced," said Robb. "That is the only conceivable explanation for the erratic and abnormal flight maneuvers of this aircraft just prior to the crash."
The initial NTSB report, said that the helicopter appeared to be flying on a normal route until shortly before the crash and that weather was reported as clear with good visibility.
But in the last minute of flight, it climbed to 4,100 feet MSL and turned 90 degrees to the left, then descended to 3,300 feet and flew for about 20 seconds until turning left and entering a final descent, immediately before crashing.
The accident was not the first involving Sundance Helicopters, which advertises itself on its website as "the most experienced and largest helicopter company in Nevada."
In September 2003 a pilot and six passengers died when one of the firm`s helicopters crashed in Descent Canyon, about 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) east of Grand Canyon West Airport, in Arizona.
Sundance Helicopters operates a fleet of 23 choppers including American Eurocopter A-Star AS350 models and ASB EC130 aircraft, according to the company website.
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