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November 5th, 2009

Two Men Injured in Helicopter Crash in Gulf of Mexico

Two offshore workers have been injured in a helicopter crash in the  Gulf of Mexico, which left the craft crashing into the waters, about 75 miles southeast of Galveston.

The helicopter had taken off from a platform, and was on its way to another platform when it went down in the Gulf of Mexico. Luckily for the pilot and passenger, the helicopter’s float deployed, preventing a disaster. The two men, who suffered severe back injuries, were rescued by boat, and transported to a hospital.

According to Louisiana-based Rotorcraft Leasing Company, it is still investigating the cause of the accident. Rotorcraft is a prominent supplier of chopper services to the oil and gas industry along the Gulf of Mexico.

Among the many responsibilities of an offshore employer is to provide workers safe transportation to and from oil rigs. This will include helicopter transport from shore to the rig, or between platforms. Every day, hundreds of offshore employees travel by helicopter between shore and platform, clocking hundreds of hours on these aircraft every year.

In fact, the offshore helicopter services industry is a competitive one, with helicopter transport firms vying with each other for lucrative contracts with these drilling companies. This creates a fiercely competitive environment, and unfortunately, regular maintenance of craft and training of pilots may lose out to the greed for more numbers of trips and greater profits.

Helicopter crashes can often be traced to

  • Malfunctioning helicopter parts as a result of poor maintenance
  • Pilot error
  • Operating a helicopter with excessive loads
  • Operating in adverse weather conditions
  • Poor design of the helicopter
  • Failure of manufacturers to warn of any defects in their aircraft

 

Can An Offshore Rig Worker Qualify as a Jones Act Seaman?

An offshore employee may meet the definition of a Jones Act seaman if he

  • 1. If he is assigned to a rig
  • 2. If the rig is in operation
  • 3. If he contributes to the mission of the rig

A helicopter crash can therefore qualify as the basis for a personal injury or wrongful death claim by a Jones Act seaman.

It takes an expert maritime attorney to conduct an investigation into the causes of a helicopter accident, and hold persons or entities accountable for these injuries or deaths.

 

The maritime attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  are trial attorneys representing commercial fishing vessel crew members, barge and tugboat operators, cruise liner crews, offshore and jack up rig workers, tanker and freighter crews and other workers who qualify for Jones Act seaman status, in injury and wrongful death litigation. 

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