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Associated Press - December 18, 2005

Survivor of Canyon Crash Settles Lawsuit for $38M

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS – The sole survivor of a Grand Canyon sightseeing air crash will receive $38 million, according to the terms of the settlement announced Friday involving the tour company, the pilot and the helicopter manufacturer.

A lawyer for Chana Daskal, 29, of Brooklyn, N.Y., said the defendants agreed to pay the settlement in a lump sum within 30 days.

“Chana is delighted to have this part of her life over with. She’s pleased she doesn’t have to travel to Las Vegas for trial. The important thing is now she can address her needs,” said Gary Robb, Daskal’s lawyer in Kansas City, Mo.

Daskal has been recovering from near-fatal injuries she received in the crash Aug. 10, 2001, Robb said. The mother of two suffered a broken back, burns over 80 percent of her body, and had both legs amputated after the helicopter crashed into a cliff during a sightseeing tour to the Grand Canyon.

Daskal’s medical bills have topped $11 million and her future care could cost $23 million, Robb said.

Daskal filed a civil suit against Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters in Las Vegas; American Eurocopter Corp. and Turbomeca Engine Corp., of Grand Prairie, Texas; Washington-based helicopter retailer Zuni LLC; and the estate of the pilot who died in the crash.

Gary Robb said the deal resolved all claims against the defendants. He could not disclose the details of the settlement.

Lawyers and officials representing the defendants did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Robb said the deal is ranked by a national jury verdict tracking system as the largest pretrial cash settlement in a personal-injury case in U.S. history.

It was approved by Judge Nancy Saitta last week, he said. The settlement is sealed in Clark County District Court, according to a court spokesman.

Daskal’s husband, David Daskal, and traveling companions Shayie Lichtenstein, Avi and Barbara Wajsbaum and Aryeh Zvi Fastag, all of Brooklyn, were killed along with the pilot, Kevin Innocenti, 27, of Henderson. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed pilot error for the crash in a report last year.

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