Another suit filed over December chopper crash

By David Yates | May 20, 2009

On behalf of her late husband, Nina Conn has filed suit against Rotorcraft leasing alleging the company left the helicopter that crash landed and killed her husband out in inclement weather.

Conn and her children filed the suit May 18 in Jefferson County District Court. The suit also faults Bell Helicopter Textron as a defendant.

According to the plaintiff's petition, the helicopter crash landed on Dec. 11, 2008. The defendants had allegedly left the craft sitting "outside in an ice and snowstorm."

Court papers show the helicopter took off from Rotorcraft's base in Sabine Pass and was heading for an offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico. About 18 miles off shore, the craft crashed, killing the pilot and all four passengers on board.

A similar lawsuit was filed in February by the mother of James Cody Smalts, 23, of Conroe, one of the men killed in the crash.

"The helicopter � was covered with ice and snow before the fatal flight," the suit states, adding the defendants negligently failed to remove the snow and ice before takeoff.

The suit goes on to allege Bell Helicopter Textron negligently designed the craft and placed a defective helicopter into the stream of commerce.

The plaintiffs are suing for their benefactor's pain, mental anguish and lost wages, plus survival damages and all court costs.
They are represented by Provost Umphrey attorney Joe Fisher.

Case No. E184-100

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