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Two Men Killed in Fiery Aviation Accident

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on April 10, 2013

Two men were killed recently when their helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff from Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport. According to their flight plan, the men were heading toward Orlando when their aircraft went down in an industrial park near the Everglades. The pilot had many years of experience flying helicopters and was the owner of a helicopter charter service based out of Kendall-Tamiami. No one on the ground was injured in the crash, but several nearby witnesses heard the accident and ran out with fire extinguishers to save the men.

“I was sick,” said Valerie Senior, 18, who witnessed the crash and aftermath in an industrial park in Southwest Miami-Dade. “I wanted to help the men.”

She rushed out of her mother’s business after hearing the chopper’s tail break off, which she initially thought was a truck accident. As she watched, the helicopter crashed between two trees and burst into flames. Her mother also witnessed the accident and was talking on her phone about ten feet from the crash site when the helicopter fell from the air.

“It’s something really horrible to happen in front of you,” said Julia Senior, owner of the Fitness Factory gym in the industrial park on the 13000 block of Southwest 122nd Avenue.

Miami-Dade police spokesman Roy Rutland said homicide detectives would join the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration officials in investigating the crash. The men were flying in a Robinson R-44 helicopter, which measures about 30-feet long and weighs 1,500 pounds. The manufacturer of this aircraft issued an order to fix the fuel tanks on the aircraft due to an earlier crash that aviation accident attorneys claimed was caused by improperly designed fuel tanks that were prone to bursting into flames in low-impact crashes. Robinson Helicopters issued a retrofit order to make the fuel tanks stronger, but owners have until April 30th to comply. It is not known whether or not the chopper involved in this aviation accident had had its fuel tanks retrofitted.

It often takes weeks and months for investigators to learn the cause of an aviation accident. Some are caused by pilot error, while others are caused by a defect in the design or manufacturer of a component. If officials determine that a defective part led to an accident, the manufacturer, designer and seller of the aircraft can be held liable for damages. If you are injured in an aviation accident in Central Florida caused by a defective part, you need an Orlando personal injury lawyer with a proven record of success as an aviation accident attorney, as well as a product liability attorney. James O. Cunningham is one of the very few lawyers in the area with extensive experience and a proven record of success handling complicated cases like these. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, call him today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587).

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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