13 Aug 2008, 12:07am
Latest Fire News
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Suit filed over 2006 fatal helicopter crash

Idaho Statesman, 08/12/08 [here]

The parents of Gary Lewis and Monica Lee Zajanc on Monday filed a wrongful death suit against Evergreen Helicopters in federal court, saying their pilot failed to comply with Forest Service helicopter pilot safety requirements.

Lewis, of Cascade, and Zajanc, of Boise, were firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service when they died in a helicopter crash Aug. 13, 2006, near Yellow Pine.

Also killed were Lillian Patten, of Olympia, Wash., a fire lookout, and the helicopter’s pilot, Quin Stone, of Emmett.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation determined the helicopter collided with a 90-foot-tall dead tree. The NTSB concluded the pilot’s intentional low altitude flight and failure to maintain adequate altitude to clear the trees were the crash’s probable cause.

The suit, filed by Larry Zajanc, Nolene Hollifield and Gary and Kay Lewis, contends McMinnville, Ore.-based Evergreen, which was under contract with the Forest Service, is responsible for the deaths.

The Forest Service requires all helicopter flights be conducted at least 500 feet above ground level unless the mission required flight at a lower altitude.

[For more information regarding this incident, see here and here]



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