Helicopter Involved in Fatal 2011 Crash Not Certified To Fly In Weather Conditions

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation into a 2011 medical transport helicopter crash that led to the deaths of two Mayo Clinic employees and the death of the pilot/owner of the helicopter, has determined that the helicopter used in the flight was not certified to fly in the weather conditions it encountered.

The Florida Times-Union reports the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville had contracted SK Logistics to fly a helicopter to pick up a heart needed for a transplant. Unfortunately, the helicopter never made the pick up, as it crashed into a 50-foot tree in a remote area in Clay County.

An ex-employee of the now defunct company said that the area where the helicopter crashed was known to often be foggy, and visibility could be near zero at 200 to 400 feet. It was determined that the helicopter used for the pick up was not certified for use under those conditions and was not equipped with an autopilot or radar altimeter.

Disturbingly, SK Logistics had a helicopter that would have been certified to make the flight, but it had been down for maintenance since August of that year. The crash occurred the day after Christmas in 2011.

Reports indicate that the company may have been in financial trouble and suggest that is why maintenance and upgrades to the helicopters were delayed. According to the Times-Union, the Mayo Clinic had been looking for another company to meet its medical transport needs due to those delays.

After the death of the owner in the crash, the company filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the family of one of the Mayo Clinic employees killed in the crash.

The aviation accident attorneys at Farah & Farah in Palatka want to remind you that victims of aviation accidents are protected by laws that allow them to pursue compensation where negligence is present. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in an aviation accident, contact us right away. We can be reached at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online for a free review of your case.