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Sun, Jan 11, 2009

First Lawsuit Surfaces In Wake Of PHI S-76 Crash

Wrongful Death Suit Accuses Company Of Negligence

Although the accident investigation is far from over, the widow of a victim of last week's crash of a PHI Sikorsky S-76 helicopter is suing helo operator PHI.

Britain Boudreaux, the estranged wife of the late Allen Boudreaux, is proceeding with a wrongful death suit against PHI, Inc., accusing the company of negligence, the Lafayette, LA Daily Advertiser reported.

Boudreaux's attorney, William Dodd, said, "All reports and information I have, the weather was not a factor," Dodd said. "It's got to be something mechanical or it's got to be pilot error."

As ANN reported, at approximately 2:09 pm (CST) on January 4, a Sikorsky S-76C helicopter operated by PHI, Inc., crashed into swampy terrain just north of the Gulf of Mexico coastline near Morgan City, LA.

The aircraft was on a Part 135 revenue flight to oil platform number 301B. It had taken off from Amelie, Louisiana about 7 minutes before the crash. There were no radio reports of problems from the crew before the crash. Weather at the time is reported to have been visual flight rule conditions, with scattered clouds at 1,000 feet and 10 miles visibility.

An Emergency Locating Transmitter (ELT) emitted a signal following the crash and helped search and rescue personnel find the wreckage. Eight of the nine persons aboard perished, with the lone survivor listed in critical condition.

The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing its investigation of the crash. The wreckage of the aircraft has been transported to Lafayette, LA for detailed examination, and its cockpit voice recorders have been sent to NTSB facilities in Washington, DC for analysis, NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz said.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov, www.phihelico.com

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