Parents of Man Who Died After Grand Canyon Helicopter Crash to Receive $100m Settlement

Parents of Man Who Died After Grand Canyon Helicopter Crash to Receive $100m Settlement

A routine tourist helicopter ride across the Grand Canyon went tragically wrong in February 2018. Airbus EC130 B4 spun out of control before crashing and bursting into flames. The crash was thought to be caused by a “violent gust of wind.” Five individuals were killed, all British, as a result of the accident.

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A Nevada court awarded a $100 million dollar payout to the parents of one of the victims, Jonathan Udall, 31. Jonathan was on vacation in Las Vegas with his newlywed wife, Ellie, and friends. The group were celebrating one member’s 30th birthday and the Udall’s marriage.

Per a settlement approved by a Nevada judge on Friday, Jonathan’s parents will receive $24.6 million from Papillon Airways Inc., the company that operated the helicopter, and $75 million from Airbus Helicopters SAS, which manufactured the aircraft.

The plaintiffs argued that the helicopter was unsafe to fly because it did not have a crash resistant fuel system on board. This caused the helicopter to burst into flames upon impact, and left their son Jonathan with burns on 90% of his body. Udall survived for 12 days in the hospital before succumbing to his wounds.

“The Udall family wants to shine a spotlight on this issue so the industry will take note and voluntarily seek to correct this public health issue. They don’t want anyone else to go through what their son went through in an otherwise survivable accident—not a broken bone. He would have walked away,” a lawyer for the Udalls told the Associated Press.

In 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration issued new regulations that require all helicopters to carry crash resistant fuel systems to prevent them from catching fire in accidents.

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