Getting a Recovery for an Aircraft Collision; The Crash between the Sightseeing Helicopter and the Private Plane

On Saturday there was a fatal air crash over the Hudson River between a sightseeing helicopter and a private aircraft.

          Photos taken of the crash  

Apparently, the private plane rear-ended the helopcopter causing the plane’s right wing to be sheared-0ff as well as the copter’s rear rotor.  Both crashed into the Hudson.  All on board perished.

Interestingly, this was similar to a regular motor vehicle accident in that the both aircraft were flying based on the pilots’ sight and radio.   At this height there was no traffic control by the FAA.  Therefore, the two planes were not too different from two motor vehicles travelling on a highway.   From preliminary reports it appears that the private plane rear-ended the helicopter, and its pilot either did not see the copter or misjudged his distance.

The families will sue both owners and operators of the two aircraft.  There will be little dispute that either one or both aircraft are at fault.

The National Transportation Safety Board is doing an investigation, and its report may establish fault.  Although its report is very persuasive and can be used in court to prove fault, the jury in the lawsuit does not have to accept its findings.  The jury will make its own findings of fault.

If you or a family member has been injured in a aircraft accident, please feel free to call me at 800-851-1434 or write to me at

Mark E. Seitelman, Monday, August 8, 2009,


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