Montgomery, Ala. – A lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division, on behalf of the family of Thomas Ballenger, against Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. Ballenger was killed on January 4, 2009 when the Sikorsky S-76C++ helicopter he was piloting crashed into swampy terrain north of the Gulf of Mexico near Morgan City, Louisiana. The crash occurred about 7 minutes after take off from Amelie, Louisiana, and resulted in the death of Ballinger and 7 others. There was one survivor who was critically injured.

The complaint alleges the crash resulted as a direct and proximate result of defective conditions existing in the S-76C++ helicopter. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Petroleum Helicopters, Inc. (PHI) as an air taxi flight transporting workers from two different oil companies to and from an oil platform. The weather on the day of the crash was good and was not a factor in causing the crash.

Jere L. Beasley, J. Greg Allen and Chris Glover of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. in Montgomery, Ala., and Jimmy S. Calton, Sr. and Jimmy S. Calton, Jr., of Calton & Calton in Eufaula, Ala., are representing Ballenger’s wife, Ann L. Ballenger, and the Ballenger estate, in the lawsuit. The couple resided in Eufaula, Ala.

Official Complaint (PDF)

NTSB Preliminary Report

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