Clifton Park Personal Injury Lawyer Explains How Wrongful Death Claims May Bring Compensation to Victims’ Families
Investigators are looking into what caused a helicopter to crash into power lines and burst into flames in northern New York on October 31, 2018 killing two utility workers and injuring two others.
The crash occurred in Beekmantown, NY about 20 miles south of the Canadian border near Lake Champlain.
State police identified the dead as pilot Robert T. Hoban Jr., 56, of Shamong, New Jersey, and passenger Jeremy Kearns, 30, of Massena, New York. Two other men, Benjamin McAllister, 30, of Hopkinton, and co-pilot Scott Fabia, 34, of Hyde Park, were injured and taken to a nearby hospital, where they were treated and released.
Witnesses said all four men jumped from the burning helicopter while it was still tangled in the wires. First responders pulled them away from the fiery wreckage above them before it fell 40 feet to the ground.
According to state police, the helicopter was owned by Catalyst Aviation of Hammonton, New Jersey.
Helicopter Usage in Power Line Maintenance & Inspection
The inspection and maintenance of power lines traditionally is done in one of two ways, both with high safety risks: by workers who climb the towers, or by four-person crews in helicopters.
In January, two contractors died in Ohio when their helicopter crashed while they were doing line-inspection work. In May 2015, two workers escaped injury when their copter crashed in Michigan during high-voltage line inspections. And in 2014, three men died in a helicopter crash while doing routine power-line inspections in Colorado.
The New York Power Authority has been working with the Electric Power Research Institute to investigate automated inspection technology using drones.
Are Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Order?
The families of the decedents may be entitled to compensation for the conscious pain and suffering suffered by the men who died, as well as the pecuniary loss the family will suffer in their absence through wrongful death claims.
It is sad that a safer alternative has not been pursued that could have prevented this tragedy.