Last week, five people boarded a sight-seeing helicopter in Knoxville, Tennessee. Two were siblings visiting their mother in another state. The brother was finishing up his last year in high school. The older sister brought her boyfriend with her to meet her mother for the first time, who was also on board the helicopter. They were all very excited to ride in a helicopter for the first time and even made social media posts to update their friends and family on what was supposed to be a fun experience.
Sadly, the four passengers and the pilot lost their lives in a fatal helicopter crash that day. According to a witness, there was a loud explosion. The witness walked out in time to see a second explosion followed by a large fire that was eventually contained. The Pigeon Forge Police Department Chief confirmed much of the helicopter was destroyed in the fire and also noted this was the worst helicopter accident he had ever witnessed.
THE HELICOPTER ACCIDENT COULD HAVE OCCURRED DUE TO MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION OR PILOT ERROR
While it could take up to a year for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to release the findings of its investigation, there are several possibilities as to what caused the helicopter accident. The first possibility is the helicopter experienced a mechanical malfunction. According to locals, helicopters from a local tour company fly over the area four or five times each day. If the helicopters do not receive proper maintenance, they are more likely to experience mechanical malfunctions and endanger the lives of passengers.
According to the weather report for that day, the Knoxville area was experiencing an increase in wind speed, with gusts around 25 miles per hour that afternoon. If poor weather conditions and increased wind speeds were present that day, then the tour company had no business allowing the helicopter to fly that day. Extra profits from the tour is no reason to put passengers at risk.
It is also possible that the pilot was flying recklessly. According to a report from CBS News, helicopter pilots for tours have been known to engage in reckless maneuvers or fly too close to trees in order to thrill the tourists during the flight. This kind of behavior while operating a helicopter is not acceptable.
The helicopter accident could have been caused by a combination of any or all of these factors. Whether the accident was caused by a mechanical malfunction, the weather or pilot error, the lives of the five people aboard this helicopter should not have been lost.
Stanley A. Davis is a Nashville personal injury attorney who helps victims and families who have been injured or killed in a helicopter accident.
“He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.” Psalm 104:3-4