Speiser Krause in the News and Recent Developments

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Update on the Crash of Liberty Helicopters AS350B2, N350LH

The Federal Aviation Administration as well as the National Transportation Safety Board has taken certain safety measures in the wake of the crash of the March 11, 2018 Liberty Helicopters “doors open” aerial photography flight.  On Friday March 16, 2018, the FAA issued a temporary flight ban of all “open door” helicopter flights until proper safety harnesses are installed in those helicopters that would permit passengers to open the safety harnesses with a “single action” thereby allowing passengers to extricate themselves from the safety harness in the event of an emergency landing.  Tragically, in the March 11th crash, all five passengers survived the helicopter’s impact with the water but subsequently drowned when the helicopter became inverted and submerged in the East River.  The non-FAA approved harnesses securing the passengers during the “open-door” flight required the passenger either cut the tether of the harness with a knife that was embedded in the restraint or unscrew a locking mechanism located at their back.  None of the passengers were able to free themselves after the crash and all had to be cut free from their harnesses by New York Fire Department diving personnel.  The pilot of the helicopter was wearing only the manufacturer-installed restraint system, not the additional after-market harness, and was able to release his restraints, escape the helicopter and survive with only minor injuries.

On Monday, March 19, 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board issued Urgent Safety Recommendation A-18-12 to the FAA, requesting that the FAA prohibit all open-door, commercial, passenger-carrying aircraft flights until the aircraft is equipped with a harness system that allows passengers to rapidly release the harness restraint with little or no difficulty, and without having to cut or forcefully remove the harness.  Speiser Krause is closely monitoring the accident investigation and we expect that additional Safety Recommendations will be issued as the investigation continues. 


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