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FAA sued for air traffic control negligence in wrongful death claim

A Maryland family is suing the Federal Aviation Administration, claiming that carelessness on behalf of air traffic controllers caused the death of four innocent victims. The 2008 accident occurred when a medical helicopter owned by the Maryland State Police crashed while attempting to deliver a pair of car accident victims to a nearby hospital.

The helicopter was forced to change paths due to weather conditions and tried to land on a nearby Air Force Base. According to the plaintiff's wrongful death lawsuit, this decision was based on inaccurate weather information supplied to the helicopter's pilot by air traffic controllers on the base. The lawsuit alleges that this faulty information caused the helicopter to crash.

While attempting to land at the Air Force Base, the helicopter hit a number of trees in a nearby regional park. One of the car accident victims managed to survive the collision, but all of the other passengers-including the other injured victim-died in the crash.

The plaintiff's are accusing the air traffic controllers of mishandling the weather radar detectors, and hence providing the pilot with outdated information. The suit also claims that the air traffic controllers did not respond appropriately to the helicopter pilot's request for help as he attempted to land the vehicle. According to the lawsuit, this negligence was responsible for four deaths.

As stated by the prosecuting attorney, the air traffic controllers-and on a broader level the Federal Aviation Administration-were responsible for protecting the safety of everyone aboard that helicopter. Clearly, they failed in their duty, and now will have to answer to families still mourning the loss of their loved ones.

Source: Southern Maryland Online, "Lawsuit filed against FAA for 2008 Maryland Medavac Crash." 28 February 2011

5 Comments

Here’s an interesting article on Air Traffic Control

6.8 percent Air Traffic growth expected in Asia Pacific
Dr Noorlinah G Mohd, Air Traffic Inspectorate Division, Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia speaks to Transport IQ Editor Bryan Camoens on organizing and coordinating the development efforts for the next generation of air traffic control systems. She also explains why it may be too early to talk about a regional version of Eurocontrol.

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