Parents of Grand Canyon helicopter crash victim file lawsuit

First lawsuit filed in fatal Grand Canyon helicopter crash

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona – Almost one month has passed since a fatal helicopter crash at the Grand Canyon that left five dead and several others injured. Now, the first lawsuit has been filed in the incident.

Marlene and Philip Udall. the mother and father of Jonathan Udall, 31, one of the victims in the crash, filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Friday at  Clark County District Court in Nevada.

According to, the parents have accused the owner of the helicopter, Papillon Airways, and the manufacturer, Airbus, of negligence in "failing to equip the helicopter with a crash-resistant fuel system." Their son initially survived the crash, but died 10 days later in a Las Vegas Trauma Center after more than 95 percent of his body was burned after a post-crash fire broke out.

The parents believe their son would have had a chance at survival had the fire not occurred.

"There is no possible excuse for any helicopter not to have this simple but utterly effective technology, no excuse. None," Gary C. Robb, the family's attorney, told the Associated Press. "If any helicopter executive spent five minutes with any of these burn victims, I guarantee every helicopter in their fleet would have it."

The lawsuit is filed for more than $195,000, other damages, attorney fees and a jury trial.

Three other passengers died at the scene of the crash — Jason Hill, Stuart Hill and Becky Dobson. Ellie Udall, who was Jonathan Udall's wife of three months, also died at the hospital. The pilot, Scott Booth, and Jennifer Barham, another passenger, are still in critical condition.