A Cook County wrongful death lawsuit has been filed following a tragic helicopter accident that left four dead. The accident occurred on October 15, 2008, when an Air Angel medical helicopter struck a radio tower cable in Aurora, IL. The helicopter was carrying 14 month-old Kristin Blockinger of Leland, IL, from Valley West Hospital in Sandwich, IL, to Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL. Also aboard the aircraft were Air Angels crew members Ron Battalo and William Mann. All three passengers were killed in the accident along with 69 year-old pilot Del Waugh. The suit names Waugh as a defendant claiming that the accident was a result of negligent and careless operation by the pilot. More specifically, the suit alleges that Waugh’s advanced age, multiple in-flight responsibilities, and recent divorce related stress contributed to the fatal aviation crash.
The suit also named Air Angels and parent company Reach Medical as defendants claiming that the entities failed to follow federal recommendations for medical helicopter flights. The suit alleges that the flight was not equipped with a terrain warning and awareness system, a risk assessment program, or a two pilot team at the controls. The plaintiffs argue that each of these provisions would have helped prevent the tragic crash. The West Chicago and Bolingbrook based Air Angels recently ceased operations for two months while it conducted its own investigation. The outfit has since resumed operation finding nothing to prevent the resumption of service. A preliminary report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board “NTSB” offers no immediate explanation for the cause of the crash. The NTSB hopes to conclude its investigation of the incident in time for a February hearing on medical helicopter safety.