FAA Sued for Negligent Air Traffic Control for 2008 Helicopter Crash
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February 28, 2011, Greenbelt, Maryland – – The final lawsuit has been filed against the Federal Aviation Administration alleging air traffic control negligence for the Maryland State Police Trooper 2 fatal helicopter crash which killed four people on September 27, 2008.
The national law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman has filed the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Stephanie Younger of Maryland, the mother of Ashley Younger, 17, who was killed when the Trooper 2 medevac helicopter crashed in District Heights, Maryland. According to the lawsuit, the air traffic controllers based at Andrews Air Force Base—now known as Joint Base Andrews—provided outdated and incorrect weather information to the pilot of the medevac helicopter before it crashed.
On the day of the fatal helicopter crash, Ashley Younger and Jordan Wells, victims of an earlier automobile crash, were picked up by the Trooper 2 helicopter with the intention of landing at Prince George’s County Hospital. The helicopter, however, had to divert to Joint Base Andrews due to adverse weather conditions, where an ambulance was waiting.
The medevac helicopter, a 1989 Aerospatiale, crashed in a wooded area of District Heights’ Walker Mill Regional Park. Four people on board the aircraft, Ashley, the pilot, a paramedic and a field provider, were killed. The lone survivor of the crash was Jordan Wells.
The National Transportation Safety Board conducted a thorough investigation of the fatal medevac crash and found that a combination of factors, including outdated weather information from the air traffic controller and pilot inexperience, caused the crash.
In January 2011, the State of Maryland also filed a lawsuit against the FAA alleging that the air traffic controllers were not equipped to handle ground-based radar guides and as a result gave the pilot of the medevac helicopter weather information that was about five hours old.
The lawsuit filed by Baum Hedlund on behalf of Ashley Younger’s family also alleges that the air traffic controllers, provided by the FAA, were negligent in their communications with the Trooper 2 helicopter. The lawsuit also asserts that air traffic controllers were unresponsive and inattentive when the pilot asked for guidance during his approach to the runway.
“The FAA and air traffic controllers involved in this crash had a duty to provide for the safe passage of this aircraft. Everyone aboard that helicopter, including Ashley Younger, relied upon air traffic controllers to provide accurate information and assistance and to assure passenger safety,” said attorney Cara Luther, from Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman’s Washington, D.C. office. “FAA air traffic controllers had the duty, time, opportunity and means to provide necessary and accurate assistance and warnings to the pilot but neglected to do so.”
The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division. The case number is 8:11-cv-00526-RWT. It is the final lawsuit filed on behalf of families whose loved ones were killed or were seriously injured in the 2008 medevac crash.
Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman has represented individuals and families in more than 7,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases across the nation. The firm has over 20 years experience representing more than 500 victims in aviation crashes including accidents involving helicopter medical air-ambulance rescue operations, industrial and construction helicopter operations, professional helicopter aerial photography, helicopter logging enterprises and helicopter sightseeing tours.