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Family of California Helicopter Crash Victim Files Lawsuit against Southern California Edison

March 25, 2010

The family of a biologist, who died in a helicopter crash this year, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Southern California Edison.

The crash occurred in January. The helicopter was carrying three biologists from the California Department of Fish and Game.  As the helicopter was above a canyon near Redinger Lake, it ran into some power lines, got entangled and crashed to the ground. The three biologists died in the crash. The men had been conducting a deer survey near the Fresno and Madera Counties border. The pilot of the helicopter also died in the crash. He had been employed by Landell’s Aviation

Now the widow and children of one of the biologists Clu Clotter, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company responsible for the wires, Southern California Edison. According to the lawyers representing the family, the helicopter did not run into power lines, but much thinner static lines that were located about 100 feet above the power lines. These static lines were much more difficult to see. Lawyers are citing another crash that occurred in 1995 when the wires got entangled in a plane’s tail. That incident did not result in a crash.

According to Southern California Edison, the wires have been in place for more than 50 years.  All this time, the company has not been asked to get the wires marked.  Lawyers for Clotter’s family are asking that at least some of the wires be marked. The lawsuit doesn’t specify the amount of damages claimed ,but will include compensation for the loss of financial support to Clotter’s family.

Air travel has been made substantially safer over the past two decades. Advances in aviation technology have meant that the ratio of passengers flying to crash fatalities, is extremely low. Unfortunately, even with all these advances, California plane crash lawyers still come across several accidents taking place every year. Although major commercial airline crashes like the one involving the Colgan Air flight that crashed near Buffalo, New York last year, make newspaper headlines around the world, smaller aviation accidents like the helicopter crash that killed the biologists from the California Department of Fish and Game, don’t get as much attention.

However, there are hundreds of accidents involving helicopters and small planes occurring in the US every year. Most helicopter crashes tend to involve medical helicopters and offshore helicopters. The medical helicopter industry came under intense scrutiny in 2008 when several fatal accidents aroused national outrage.  That industry has been plagued by unchecked growth and little federal oversight, contributing to a dangerous situation that places the life of patients, medical personnel and crews at risk.

Offshore helicopters transport oil rig workers between platforms and to and from the shore. These aircraft fly in a different set of challenges, over the ocean with operators and aircraft making several trips a day. The offshore helicopter industry too is a lucrative one, and safety has always been a major issue.

The Reeves Law Group is a law firm with offices throughout California dedicated exclusively to the representation of personal injury victims, including victims of aviation accidents. Please visit our website at If you desire a free consultation on a personal injury matter, please call us at (800) 644-8000 or email us.

The Reeves Law Group is not representing any party in the matters discussed in this posting.

Posted by Robert Reeves at 5:29 pm - no comments
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