Helicopter test flight ends in fatal crash

Four Coast Guard officers were killed during a helicopter training flight in Alabama. While operating the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter over Mobile Bay, all four of the crew members aboard lost their lives. Following the helicopter crash, an investigation of the accident concluded that misconduct was not a factor. It is unclear whether any of the family members of the deceased men plan to file a wrongful death claim.

According to a final action memo that was released seven months after the accident, the primary cause of the crash was identified as pilot error. The memo also concluded that there appeared to be a lack of established flight manual procedures concerning flight conditions, flying over water and the use of night vision goggles. Although it was reported to have been a training flight, it is unclear whether the person operating the helicopter at the time was a new pilot.

Because all four crew members died in the accident, it may have been a difficult task to conduct an investigation. With no living witnesses, investigators would have to rely on data gathered from an audio or video recording device on the helicopter. If the crash happened over water, it's possible that the black box may have been lost.

After a fatal helicopter crash, data from a black box is key to answering questions about what went on in the final moments. Depending on what the information reveals, family members of the deceased men may wish to file a wrongful death claim. In order to seek compensation from the person at fault, a lawyer may help family members to gather evidence and present it in court.

Source: Military.com, "CG Releases Final Report on Fatal Ala. Helo Crash", September 29, 2013

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