$5M Settlement Reached in Medical Helicopter Crash Death
By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq. on May 5th, 2017
The parents of a 38-year-old Alabama nurse who was killed in the crash of a medical helicopter which was responding to an emergency call in March 2016 has reached a $5 million settlement with the operators of the aircraft.
The nurse, Stacey Cernadas, died March 26, 2016, when the Haynes LifeFlight medical helicopter she was riding in crashed about 12:18 a.m. west of Enterprise, Ala., after picking up a critically-injured victim from a motor vehicle accident on Alabama Highway 11, according to a May 2 story by Al.com.
Cernadas had been a flight nurse since September 2015 and previously was a hospital trauma nurse and a former flight attendant.
The Eurocopter AS 350 B2 helicopter had lifted off at 11:19 p.m. on March 25 to respond to the 911 call about an overturned vehicle and an unconscious victim after land-based rescue workers had reached the vehicle crash scene. After picking up the critically injured car crash victim, Zach Strickland, from the highway crash, the helicopter’s pilot Chad Hammond, 29, departed in the aircraft along with flight medic Jason Snipes, 34; and Cernadas, heading for the Troy Regional Medical Center. The helicopter reportedly reached an altitude of about 1,100 feet before beginning a rapid descent and crashing about half a mile from where it took off, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates aircraft crashes. The report states there was heavy fog and mist in the area at the time of the crash. A final NTSB report on the incident is still pending.
All four passengers in the helicopter died in the crash.
Cernadas parents, Deborah Bedford and Javier Cernadas, filed a lawsuit against the operator of the helicopter, Metro Aviation Inc. of Shreveport, La., alleging that the pilot had become disoriented in the fog, which they claimed led to the crash.
Metro Aviation did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
The medical helicopter was responding after Strickland, the vehicle driver, had driven into a ditch and struck a utility pole in a one-car crash on Coffee County Road 606 near Goodman, Ala., according to the initial 911 call.
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