There are numerous reports of accidents caused by a distracted driver, but a recent case concerning a fatal helicopter crash introduces a scary new twist – a distracted pilot. In Tacoronte v. Air Methods, Inc., a Missouri case which settled just before trial, an “air ambulance helicopter” crashed after it ran out of fuel. The pilot, crew, and the patient that was being transported to a nearby hospital all died in the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted an investigation into the cause of the crash. The NTSB concluded that the pilot failed to ensure that the aircraft had sufficient fuel before taking off, and failed to make a proper emergency landing. However, the investigation also revealed that the pilot had been on duty for 12 hours at the time of the crash after having only slept for 5 hours the night before.
Even more troubling, the NTSB investigation revealed that the pilot had sent dozens of personal text messages during his shift. The pilot was apparently texting during crucial preflight procedures, and even during a call to a communications center to discuss the fuel situation. It appears that the disturbing trend of distracted driving is extending into a dangerous new territory.
If you have been injured because someone was operating a vehicle while distracted, contact our Personal Injury Attorneys at Stark & Stark.