Families of Servicemen Sue DynCorp, Whose Black Hawk Crashed Near Aviano, Italy

October 15, 2009

NEW YORK, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ — The families of three servicemen filed suit against the military contractor DynCorp for the deaths of their fathers, husbands and sons which happened when an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter they were riding in crashed near Aviano, Italy on November 8, 2007. An investigation revealed that lapses on the part of DynCorp who contracted with the military to provide maintenance and repairs to the UH-60 fleet in Aviano and other locations allowed the helicopter to return to service without needed repairs shortly before the crash.

The suit was filed October 5, 2009, in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas. Co-counsel is Hunter J. Shkolnik of Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Shkolnik & McCartney LLP, a New York law firm specializing in product liability actions including aviation suits.

The servicemen Mark A. Spence, Christian Skoglund, and Cartize B. Durham were in the UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter, Serial No. 88-26025, during an incentive flight in Aviano, Italy. During the flight the UH-60, suffered a catastrophic maintenance-related failure of the flight control system and loss of yaw control due to improper re-installation and/or mis-rigging by the DynCorp defendants’ employees, causing the flight crew to lose control of the helicopter and crash.

The improper maintenance by the DynCorp defendants was performed contrary to the manner mandated under the DynCorp service contract with the U.S. Army and maintenance instructions, causing an in-flight loss of control and crash. Complaints consistent with this condition were reported to the DynCorp defendants before the crash. DynCorp’s employees failed to take appropriate action to correct the condition. Evidence revealed that DynCorp violated its contractual obligations and failed to correct the defect and placed the aircraft back into service bypassing safety protocols in place to ensure such aircraft are not returned to service in a defective condition. Investigation undertaken following the crash confirmed nothing done by any military personnel contributed in any manner to this accident.

Post-accident analysis revealed a pattern of neglect on the part of the DynCorp defendants. The subject helicopter exhibited pre-existing damage on a component identified as the yaw bellcrank and its control tube/rod. Also post-accident, the U.S. Army found numerous other maintenance and/or rigging discrepancies on this and other aircraft that had been maintained by the DynCorp defendants.

This lawsuit was brought after much consideration and reluctance but ultimately went forward to help prevent further the unnecessary loss of other young servicemen and woman due to neglect on the part of military contractors like DynCorp who have taken on the responsibility of providing safety for our troops.

    Contact:  Hunter J. Shkolnik, Esq.,
              Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Shkolnik & McCartney LLP
              (212) 684-1880

SOURCE Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Shkolnik & McCartney LLP

Source: newswire

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