17 Mar 2009, 11:59pm
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Lawsuits against helicopter maker, others, in deadly firefighter crash grow to five

by Stuart Tomlinson, The Oregonian, March 16, 2009 [here]

The family of a firefighter killed in a fiery helicopter crash last summer today filed a wrongful death, negligence and product liability lawsuit against an Oregon-based helicopter company and three other companies.

The suit seeks $12.5 million for the estate 19-year-old Edrik Gomez.

Gomez died a month before his junior year at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where he had a double major in political science and communication.

The Aug. 5 crash is considered the deadliest air tragedy of working firefighters in U.S. history, killing nine men, including seven contract firefighters with Grayback Forestry of Merlin.

In addition to Carson Helicopters Inc. of Grants Pass, the suit names the maker of the S-61 helicopter, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., and its parent company, United Technologies Corp.; the maker of the engine, General Electric; and a maintenance firm, Columbia Helicopters of Aurora.

The suit was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, and joins a growing list of lawsuits filed by the victim’s families, including the estates of Matthew Hammer, 23, of Grants Pass and Bryan Rich, 29, of Medford; Scott Charlson, a 25-year-old Southern Oregon University student from Phoenix, Oregon; and 30-year-old Shawn Blazer of Medford. … [more]



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