Parents sue after Grand Canyon helicopter crash

The parents of one of the British victims of the Grand Canyon helicopter flight are suing the US tour operator which manages the flight.

Philip and Marlene Udall, of Southampton, claim in a lawsuit filed on Friday that their son, Jonathan, would not have sustained “severe and catastrophic” burns if the Airbus EC130 B4 had been fitted with a crash-resistant fuel system.

The helicopter operated by Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters crashed in a section of the Grand Canyon outside the national park where air tours are not as highly regulated.

Mr Udall, 31, was on honeymoon with his wife Ellie Milward. The newlyweds both died in hospital, with just days between them.

Their friends, Britons Becky Dobson, her boyfriend Stuart Hill and his brother Jason Hill, died at the crash scene.

One of the crash survivors can be seen leaving the wreckage Pic: Lionel Douglass

Video: Video shows survivor fleeing wreckage

The Udalls are asking for in excess of $195,000 (£141,000) in damages, as well as punitive damages and a jury trial.

Their lawyer Gary Robb said: “Mr and Mrs Udall deeply grieve for the loss of their son but their primary motivation now is to prevent anyone else from having to suffer the deadly burn injuries as their son did.

“If this helicopter had been properly equipped with a crash-resistant fuel system, it would have allowed this young man to walk away injury-free.”

Papillon directors Brenda Halvorson and Elling Halvorson, president Geoff Edlund and chief operating officer John Becker are among those named in the lawsuit.

The cause of the helicopter crash is being investigated

Image: The cause of the helicopter crash is being investigated by the NTSB

The lawsuit comes after it was announced Papillon would fit 40 of the crash-resistant tanks to its fleet in the wake of the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the cause of the crash with a preliminary report concluding the helicopter made at least two 360-degree turns before crashing.

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Aviation experts said that indicates the tail rotor wasn’t operating properly.

Investigators will interview witnesses, survivors, the helicopter operator and manufacturer before issuing a full report which is expected sometime in 2019.

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