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Fox 4 News - April 9, 2013

Families Outraged Over NTSB Findings in Deadly Chopper Crash

By Michelle Pekarsky
Fox 4 News

MOSBY, Mo. — Texting has been cited as a potential factor in a deadly crash of a medical helicopter outside Mosby, Mo., two years ago.

That National Transportation Safety Board says the pilot of that helicopter had actually been texting dozens of times before and during the flight that crashed August 27, 2011.

The helicopter crashed due to loss of power because of low fuel, killing the pilot and three others. The NTSB says the pilot missed three opportunities before take-off to evaluate the fuel situation.

“I can tell you that the families were, as expected, simply outraged by these findings. Hopefully some type of preventive measures will be taken that will keep other families from having to go through what they had to go through,” said Gary Robb, an attorney with Robb and Robb Law Firm, which represented families of two of the victims. In a recent settlement, they were awarded $8 million.

“While that can never bring back their loved ones, it is some measure of justice that they have obtained as a result of going to court,” Robb said.

Robb represented the families of victims Randy Bever, 47, who was a flight nurse and Terry Tacoronte, 56, the patient.

Flight paramedic Chris Frakes, 36, was also killed.

Besides distraction, the report also cited exhaustion as a reason for the crash. Robb said pilot James Freudenberg, 34, was undergoing serious personal distractions. He said Freudenberg’s father had recently had open heart surgery and his wife was expecting a child.

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