Kansas City
Over $1 Billion in Verdicts and Recoveries
NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on Medical Chopper Crash
by Andrew Douglas

SOMERVILLE, TN -(WMC-TV) - The probable cause of the medical helicopter crash that killed all three people on board near Somerville, Tenn., last week may take up to a year to determine.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its preliminary report on the October 22 crash.

According to the report, 18 minutes into the flight, the helicopter was climbing in altitude and veered to the right off course before crashing. The last data point registered by satellite tracking equipment indicates the chopper was flying at "98 knots ground speed and at an altitude of 1,560 feet above mean sea level."

Two additional aircraft were dispatched when Hospital Wing pilot Charles Smith did not radio in his normal 10 minute position report.

One of the pilots sent to check on the chopper saw a fire in the rural area near Somerville. First responders confirmed that the helicopter did crash.

Smith, along with Ped-Flite registered nurse Carrie Barlow, and Pedi-Flite respiratory therapist Denise Adams were killed in the crash.

According to NTSB, the majority of the helicopter was destroyed upon impact and burned in a post-crash fire.

Gary Robb wrote a book on helicopter crashes and has more than 30 years litigating them. He offered his insight based on the preliminary report. His best educated guess is that there was a mechanical issue involved.

"It does appear that the pilot was positioning the aircraft for an emergency landing called an auto rotation," said Robb. "There was some loss of power either due to engine failure, fuel there could be a problem with what's called a fuel control unit, power turbine governor, any number of systems or components."

Robb says weather was not an issue and Charles Smith had a vast amount of experience as a pilot. That leaves something mechanical board as the most likely culprit.

"Why would the pilot do that? And the reason is to position for an auto rotation which is an emergency procedure designed to land in a relatively open area using only the inertial rotational forces of the main rotator blade," explained Robb.

The report issued by NTSB is preliminary and could change as the investigation continues.

To read the entire preliminary report, click here:

« Back to News & Media

The firm's lawyers are proud to be members of:
Telephone: 816-474-8080
Facsimile: 816-474-8081
Toll-Free: 1-800-474-1339
Nationwide practice in states including:
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina

Personal Injury Lawyers - Kansas City, Missouri

Personal injury is an area of law that pertains to the injury of an individual. Both physical and emotional injuries fall into this branch of tort law. A personal injury lawyer is generally involved in cases where an injury has occurred due to the negligence of another party.

Examples of cases that a personal injury lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri can assist with include workplace accidents, falling or other accidents in the home, premises liability, defective and hazardous product cases, and dental and medical malpractice cases. If negligence on behalf of another party can be proved in court, compensation may be awarded.

Personal injury attorneys can also assist with industrial disease cases that may include respiratory diseases or a decline in health due to hazardous occupational conditions. These and other medical cases are often very complex, and it is advised that all aspects of the claim be handled by an experienced attorney.

Wrongful Death Lawyers - Kansas City, Missouri

Wrongful death falls under the common law jurisdictions wherein a person may be held liable for a death. It is important to note that wrongful death is the only course of legal action in which a company, rather than an individual, is at fault for a death.

In Kansas City, Missouri, cases involving wrongful death accidents require a preponderance of evidence as the standard of proof. Generally, the suit is filed by close relatives.

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

Robb & Robb LLC One Kansas City Place, Suite 3900 - 1200 Main Street , Kansas City , Missouri 64105

Telephone: 816-474-8080 Facsimile: 816-474-8081 Toll-Free: 1-800-474-1339