Sherman Oaks Helicopter Crash Injures Four
I’m Ed Smith, a California helicopter crash lawyer. A helicopter crash recently injured four people after the falling aircraft landed on a residential road.
On 21 July, a sightseeing helicopter began experiencing unknown difficulties. The pilot called a mayday to air traffic control, signalling the aircraft’s distress. He then made an emergency landing on a residential street near Highway 101 in Sherman Oaks.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the helicopter did not crash. The aircraft came to a hard landing on Valley Heart Drive between Sepulveda Boulevard and Noble Boulevard. The force of the landing damaged the landing gear struts, causing the aircraft to tip on its side.
The pilot controlled the landing and was able to prevent injury to anyone on the ground. The crash only damaged a small section of fence.
Injuries Suffered in the Accident
Information about the specific injuries have not been released. Authorities do report that two men, one woman, and a teenager were on-board the helicopter at the time of the crash and were transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.
Hard Landing versus Helicopter Crash
A spokesperson from the LAPD classified the accident as more of a hard landing than an actual crash. This means the aircraft pilot was in control of the aircraft throughout the descent, but landed on the ground too fast. Technically, a hard landing is a kind of helicopter crash. Experts, however, make a distinction between the two because hard landings rarely result in passenger deaths.
Cause of the Accident
The official cause of this hard landing is unknown at this time. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating.
Based on the timeline of events, a mechanical issue is most likely a cause of the accident. The pilot detected an issue in-flight, but was still able to land the aircraft. This indicates that while serious, it was not a catastrophic failure of a part.
However, the fact that the helicopter could not make the return flight to an airport or an open field indicates that the problem encountered was serious.
Pilot error is unlikely as experts familiar with the accident are commending his ability to control the aircraft and limit injuries.
About the Helicopter
The mechanical issue may have been based on a factory defect or a defect in a part added later. The helicopter in this accident was a Robinson R44. These aircraft have a good safety record, but mistakes do sometimes occur.
About the Company
In many similar accidents, a dangerous mechanical error is caused by improper maintenance of an aircraft. This is especially common in helicopter tourism companies where sufficient maintenance costs can be a heavier burden on the company. The helicopter in this case is owned by National Helicopter Service, a company based out of Van Nuys, California.
If poor maintenance caused this accident, the helicopter company will be liable for the damages sustained in the accident. The company may be liable even if the issue was a factory defect because proper checks should have detected the defect.
California Helicopter Accident Lawyer, Ed Smith
California Helicopter Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a California helicopter crash lawyer. If a helicopter crash impacts you or a loved one, please call me at (916) 921-6400 for free and friendly advice. I can also be reached toll-free at the following number: (800) 404-5400.
I have been practicing personal injury law for 34 years and have extensive experience with helicopter crash litigation. Over this time, I have assembled an expert team of injury lawyers and aviation experts that are standing by to help.
Please also look at my Past Verdicts and Settlements page.
I am a proud California section member of the forum for the Million Dollar Advocates.
Image Source: Sir James at Wikimedia Commons
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