A woman has filed a wrongful death suit on the behalf of her four minor children for the fatal personal injuries their father suffered in a helicopter crash.
According to the suit filed on May 8 in Texas’ Jefferson County District Court, Ezequiel Cantu Jr. was approximately seven minutes into a flight in a Sikorsky S-76C helicopter on January 4 when it crashed into a swamp near Morgan City, Louisiana.
The suit says that when the crash occurred, the helicopter had been chartered to Shell Oil Co. and was being used to transport Shell employees to an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
The suit claims the helicopter’s original windshield had been replaced with a lightweight cast acrylic windshield designed by Aeronautical Accessories, which was the reason for the crash.
Sanchez claims that Cantu’s death caused the couple’s minor children to suffer lost companionship, society, and inheritance and mental anguish.
The suit names helicopter owners PHI and Petroleum Helicopters, Aeronautical Accessories, helicopter designer Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Kim Martin as personal representative of Vyarl Martin’s estate, and Ann L. Ballenger as personal representative of Thomas Ballenger’s estate as defendants.
The suit alleges negligence on the part of Sikorsky for failure to warn of the dangers of replacing the windshield, failure to warn of the dangers associated with the helicopter, failure to disclose known issues and defects, and marketing the helicopter as safe when it was not.
The suit alleges negligence on the part of Aeronautical Accessories for failure to warn of the replacement windshield’s dangers and failure to provide proper safety instructions.
The suit alleges negligence on the part of Martin and Ballenger for operation of the helicopter at an unsafe speed. The suit says PHI is negligent through Martin and Ballenger as employees.
Sanchez seeks unspecified damages.