The parents of a California teacher who was killed in a 2015 medical helicopter crash have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Fresno-based helicopter operator.
Linda Knuckles and David Barrows filed the lawsuit Dec. 29 in Fresno County Superior Court, claiming Rogers Helicopters Inc. was negligent in operating and maintaining the SkyLife 4, which crashed in December 2015 while transporting their daughter to a Bakersfield hospital.
Kathryn Ann Brown, 40, was one of four people killed in the Air Ambulance crash just east of McFarland, Calif. Ms. Brown was originally taken to Sierra View Medical Center in Porterville after experiencing pain in her head, shoulder, and arm. The Porterville hospital then arranged for her to be airlifted to San Joaquin Community Hospital in Bakersfield.
The Bell 407 medical helicopter crashed less than 20 minutes after departure. Also killed in the crash were pilot Thomas Hampl, nurse Marco Lopez, and paramedic Kyle Juarez.
Ms. Brown’s parents accuse Rogers Helicopters of negligently, recklessly, and carelessly operating and maintaining the air ambulance. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the crash and has not yet determined what happened. It typically takes the agency a year from the onset of an investigation to issue a final report, but sometimes the probes can take several months longer.
“It is tragic that a precautionary medical flight such as this, ended with the loss of so many lives. A thorough investigation and understanding of the circumstances should result in increased safety for future patients and crew of med-flight helicopters,” a lawyer representing Ms. Brown’s parents said in a statement.