Helicopter cops sue manufacturer over ORIA crash

| 04/03/2022 | 7 Comments
Cayman News Service
Damaged RCIPS helicopter ready to be shipped

(CNS): Three years after the original police helicopter crash-landed at Owen Roberts International Airport after a failed take-off, the RCIPS pilot at the time, Nigel Pitt, and his passenger, PC Greg Banks Jr, are both suing the manufacturer, Airbus Helicopters, claiming the machine was defective and caused the hard landing, in which the two men were injured.

The two suits, which were filed separately last month and posted on the court online register just a few days ago, are limited in detail but make a claim for personal injury damages relating to the 26 February 2019 crash.

Both men said they were injured when the helicopter “made a hard landing due to a defect or other failing in its manufacture”. They argue that Airbus was “negligent and/or breached the duty of care it owed towards” the men.

No specific figure is made in the claim regarding how much the two police officers are seeking, but in addition to the damages for personal injury, pain, suffering and loss of amenity, they are also asking the court for interest, costs or other relief.

The chopper in question was purchased second-hand in 2007. The landing badly damaged the tail as it smashed into the ground, leaving the machine damaged beyond repair. At the time, the RCIPS stressed that the crash-landing was due to a faulty machine part or mechanical failure and not pilot error.

However, the RCIPS was able to secure an insurance payout, which went towards the acquisition of a new one and it now has two choppers. These are used here and in other overseas territories, as one was partially funded by the UK. Both machines have become essential tools in drug interdiction and have improved the Cayman Islands’ search and rescue capabilities.

See suits G2022-0048 and G22022-0047 on the public register.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The part that failed led to a fleetwide inspection and then a reduced flying hours time limit. Nothing to do with maintenance and pilots flying. It was all about manufacture. Simple.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hope u git lotsa money or legal aid…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Fire truck rollover part 3.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Not sure what, at the relevant time, the facts were, but there might (potentially) be a tortious claim for negligence.

    Interesting to see what the final word will be after the dust settles. Whether the two claimants are right or wrong, they are still entitled to bring legal action to be adjudicated on by the courts.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. New replacement parts can fail, be installed incorrectly, or differ in design from OEM. Operator error is possible too, but the passenger can sue for that also.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m no aeronautical engineer but I have background in fixed wing aircraft airworthiness inspections. The helicopter was in use by RCIPS and before that Cheshire Police for years before the accident, so it seems odd to try to sue the manufacturer at this stage.

    At the time of the accident the chopper had been in RCIPS hands and under their maintenance program (outsourced, but their responsibility) for a few years. Surely the maintenance records will be crucial.

    This isn’t the same scenario as the crashes among brand new Boeing Max 8s but the pilots may be trying to cash-in on that! Pilot error maybe?

    “RCIPS stressed the crash was ……. not pilot error”?? So, RCIPS has aircraft accident investigators and airworthiness experts on staff? Who, Colin Redden?

    RCIPS, CIG, Air Support Pilots, Media please keep us posted!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought your comment would have been a disciplined and sensible one especially how you started off but didn’t end that way. The cause of the incident has been identified and is globally known as a part that failed. It would be helpful to have done your research before commenting. I hope you do and come back with an updated comment.

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