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Lawsuit Filed In Fatal September Helicopter Crash

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MOUNT CLEMENS (WWJ/AP) - The estate and family of a Sterling Heights man killed in a northern lower Michigan helicopter crash in September has filed a lawsuit claiming negligence contributed to the accident.

A lawsuit was filed in January in Macomb County Circuit Court by relatives of 33-year-old Mark May, of Sterling Heights, The Macomb Daily reported this week. He was the passenger in the helicopter piloted by 46-year-old Dan Logghe, who also died in the Sept. 23 crash.

The lawsuit accuses Logghe of negligence and claims that Logghe Stamping Co. in Fraser, an auto industry and military supplier, failed to properly maintain the helicopter. It also claims the Dan Logghe, a company vice president from Macomb County’s Richmond Township, wasn’t adequately trained.

“Logghe Stamping Co. is vicariously liable for any and all actions of Dan Logghe has to his negligent and careless piloting, pre-flight inspection and operation of the subject helicopter,” the complaint states.

Accoring to the claim, Logghe failed to “properly respond to an in-flight loss of control … avoid natural obstacles in the flight path … monitor weather conditions before the flight … and … during the flight … and … follow the designated flight path.”

The defendants say May assumed risk by going on the “joint venture … with full knowledge of the conditions that created said risk.” The defendants also argue that the crash may have been caused by “an Act of God,” thus precluding any claims.

The helicopter crashed in Alcona County’s Caledonia Township. The pair was headed to a hunting cabin near Alpena, about 15 miles from the crash site. Officials said it was common for the two to go to a hunting cabin every weekend in northeast Michigan.

According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Robinson R-44 aircraft burst into flames after landing upside down. The report says the “wreckage debris field” was about 500 feet long, indicating it likely hit multiple trees.

Based on the report, it appears the flight may have been hampered by clouds. Logghe appeared to fly by sight, not instruments. The NTSB has not yet determined an official cause for the crash.

The lawsuit seeks damages including funeral expenses, loss of companionship, loss of May’s future earnings and for support, grief and sorrow.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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