Parents of Jonathan Udall killed in Grand Canyon helicopter crash to receive £78m pay out | UK News
The parents of a British tourist, who was among five killed after a helicopter crashed and burst into flames in the Grand Canyon in 2018, are to receive a $100m (£78m) settlement.
Jonathan Udall, 31, suffered burns over 90% of his body and died after spending 12 days in hospital after an Airbus EC130 B4 went down shortly before sunset on 10 February 2018.
His newlywed wife Ellie Udall, 29, brothers Stuart and Jason Hill, 30 and 32, and Stuart’s 27-year-old girlfriend Becky Dobson, also died in the crash.
The group of friends were in Las Vegas to celebrate one of the Hill’s brother’s birthday and the Udall’s marriage.
Mr Udall’s parents claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit that their son, originally from Southampton, could have survived if it was not for the post-crash fire – caused by the helicopter’s fuel tank that they claim was prone to rupturing.
Under the settlement approved by a US judge in Clark County, Nevada on Friday, Philip and Marlene Udall, will receive $24.6m (£19.3m) from the helicopter operator, Papillon Airways, and $75.4m (£59.3m) from its French manufacturer, Airbus Helicopters SAS.
The parents’ lawyer said they planned to use a portion of the money to promote helicopter safety and encourage manufacturers to install safe technology so “no other parents” have to suffer their loss.
Read more UK news:
Former Post Office boss to hand back her CBE
Taylor Swift tickets easier to get than NHS dentist appointments
World’s first pothole-preventing robot
“The family wanted to shine a spotlight on this public health issue because there are too many helicopters that have this very unsafe, flimsy fuel tank,” lawyer Gary C Robb said.
“When the helicopter makes a hard landing, it opens up and pours fuel onto the passengers, soaks them in the fuel, and then it ignites and they are then covered in flame.
“It is horrific. And it should be corrected immediately.”
A 2021 report by the National Transportation Safety Board report in the US concluded that a probable cause for the helicopter crash was the pilot losing control due to tailwind conditions.
The pilot, Scott Booth, told police that the aircraft had encountered a “violent gust of wind” and began to spin.
He fractured his lower left leg, and passenger Jennifer Barham had a spinal fracture in the crash. They also suffered severe burns but survived.
Since then, both of Mr Booth’s legs have been amputated.