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Family of tourist in Las Vegas helicopter crash awarded $100 million

A Clark County judge approved a $100 million penalty to settle a lawsuit filed by the parents of one in five British tourists. when a bystander is killed

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Apr 8, 2024
2 min read
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Jonathan Udall and his wife, Ellie Milward Udall, shortly before his tragic death in 2018..aussiedlerbote.de
Jonathan Udall and his wife, Ellie Milward Udall, shortly before his tragic death in 2018..aussiedlerbote.de

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Family of tourist in Las Vegas helicopter crash awarded $100 million

A Clark County judge approved a $100 million penalty to settle a lawsuit filed by the parents of one in five British tourists. In 2018, a helicopter crashed and caught fire near Las Vegas, killing onlookers.

The family of Jonathan Udall, 31, whose new wife also died in the crash, will receive $24.6 million from Boulder, Nevada-based helicopter operator Papillon Airways and from its French manufacturer Airbus Helicopters SAS received $75.4 million.

The family's lawsuit claims the helicopter is unsafe because it does not have a crash-resistant fuel system, which became a Federal Aviation Administration requirement for helicopters built after 2020.

The gas tank was essentially an incendiary bomb, the family's attorney, Gary C. Robb of Kansas City, Mo., told the AP on Monday. "Fuel splashed onto the passengers and caught fire." It was horrific.

"The three people on the right side of the plane were never able to escape," Rob continued. "Their seats were completely burned."

The fateful day

On February 10, 2018, Udall and his bride, Ellie Milward Udall, 29, boarded an Airbus EC130 B4 aircraft in Boulder, Nevada, along with three others Three British tourists, including Rebecca Dobson, 27, Stuart Hill, 30, and his wife. brother Jason Hill, 32.

They were heading to celebrate Stewart's birthday in the Grand Canyon area of ​​the Hualapai Reservation, which lies outside the boundaries of the national park.

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board said the helicopter likely came down due to unexpected tailwinds, possible downdrafts and turbulence. After the accident, both Udall and his wife died from burns. His parents claim in the lawsuit that he would have survived if not for a fire that followed the accident.

"They don't want anyone else to go through what their son went through in an accident where he could have survived - no broken bones," Robb told AP. "He (Jonathan) would have walked away."

Two other people survived the crash, including passenger Jennifer Barham, who suffered a spinal fracture, and pilot Scott Booth, who had both legs amputated.

Papillon Helicopters has installed crash-resistant fuel cells on its helicopter fleet following a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandate, a spokesman told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

"We continue to express our condolences to the families of the victims as this difficult chapter in our history comes to an end," the spokesman said.

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