The first lawsuit has been filed in the deadly helicopter crash that claimed five lives in the East River.
The parents of videojournalist Trevor Cadigan filed suit in Manhattan Tuesday, claiming “grossly negligent and reckless” action on behalf of Liberty Helicopters led to their son’s death on Sunday.
Cadigan, 26, was one of five people who were stuck strapped into harnesses when the chopper they were flying in landed and tipped over in the cold waters near Gracie Mansion.
“There was no prospect of his safely evacuating the helicopter in that crash scenario,” said lawyer Gary Robb, who is representing the grieving couple.
Harness issues created ‘inescapable scenario’ in doomed chopper
“The family is simply shocked and outraged that their son drowned to death in this manner in what was supposed to be a pleasurable sightseeing helicopter tour,” said Robb.
“This was just a routine flight, where they’re going to take photographs,” he added. “I don’t think anybody was aware of the risks.”
Among with Liberty, the suit names tour operator, NY ON Air LLC, FlyNYON LLC, and Richard Vance, the pilot and lone survivor of the crash.
The brunt of their suit pins the blame on Vance for failing to keep control of the open-door helicopter and to save his passengers.
Victim of NYC helicopter crash remembered for ‘mighty voice’
Liberty announced Tuesday that it has stopped open-door tours, pending the outcome of the National Transportation Safety Board probe.
Deadly Helicopter crash in New York City’s East River
“It is too late for Trevor Cadigan and the other people who lost their lives,” Robb remarked.
Critics of sightseeing helicopters over Manhattan charge the flying tourist traps can be death traps, too.
An assortment of politicians emerged Tuesday to demand the grounding of choppers above the borough.
“Helicopter tourism flights are simply a bad fit for airspace above the most densely populated city in the U.S,” read a joint statement from Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Nydia Velazquez (both D-N.Y.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-Long Island).
“At minimum, these flights should be suspended until there can be an exhaustive review of the safety hazards of operating these flights in such a congested urban airspace.”
The city medical examiner’s office ruled Tuesday that all five victims drowned and that their deaths were accidental.
Federal transportation authorities launched an investigation into the crash with a particular focus on the safety belts.
“We are giving urgent attention to the use of harnesses specifically for aerial photography flights,” the FAA said in a statement. “As a matter of overall safety awareness, we are preparing further communications and educational outreach to aerial photography operators and consumers on the use of these harnesses.”
With Jillian Jorgensen, Thomas Tracy, Nicole Hensley
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