There was a tragic collision between a helicopter and an airplane in Frederick Maryland on Thursday October 23, 2014. The Three people in the helicopter died in the crash. The three individuals who died are Christopher Parsons, William Jenkins and Brendan MacFawn. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these individuals.
Miraculously, thanks to a parachute mechanism on the airplane, the those on the plane survived and suffered just minor injuries. It has been reported that The Airplane was owned by Graeves Auto and Appliance, Inc. which is located in Olney, MD. They are a family owned business located in Olney, Maryland (www.graevesautoandappliance.com). The planes tail number is N122ES and it was a Cirrus SR 22likely a 4 seater. This is one of the most popular small planes and it is well known to have a unique parachute system that can save lives in crashes like this one. It seems that this parachute system saved the lives of those on the Cirrus SR 22.
The Crash is currently being investigated by the NTSB, and they will determine a preliminary cause of the crash, look into the licensing credentials of the pilots, and determine if the condition of the aircrafts contributed to the collision or whether it was due to pilot error. The NTSB will also look into the maintenance history of both aircrafts. Finally, the NTSB will determine whether environmental conditions contributed to the plane crash.
The families of those killed in the crash have numerous potential claims that should be investigated by an airplane crash attorney. Under Maryland law the spouse, children and parents of the deceased have a wrongful death claim, and the estate of the deceased has a Survival Claim. There are strict time deadlines for bringing legal claims so the families should consult with an airline crash attorney as soon as possible to learn more about their rights, and to make sure that all possible claims are protected. It is also important that all evidence related to the incident be preserved. The legal causes of action are generally product liability claims and common law negligence claims. There may be additional legal theories that could be pursued as well. Potential Defendants would include plane/helicopter manufacturer and parts manufacturers, plane operators, Frederick Municipal Airport, the Helicopter Owners/Instructors (Advanced Helicopter Concepts), and possibly governmental entities (e.g. Frederick County/State of Maryland). It is possible that other state law could apply as well.
Perhaps other airplane and helicopter manufacturers will learn from this incident and consider employing the parachute technology that seems to have saved the lives of those on board the Cirrus Aircraft. Congress should consider additional regulations that require this technology on small aircraft.