Lawsuit: Helicopter Pilot Crashed After Fooling Around on FaceTime

By Kate Knibbs on at

A helicopter pilot was messing about on FaceTime shortly before a fatal crash, according to a lawsuit filed by a surviving passenger.

The plaintiff, Jonathan Desouza, was getting a flying lesson from pilot Luis Aviles through Palm Beach Helicopters in Florida, US, last December. Then things went horribly wrong. The helicopter crashed while Aviles was showing Desouza a simulated emergency situation that quickly turned into a real one. The lawsuit characteriaes Aviles’s actions as “grossly negligent” and describes how he played around with his iPhone as he controlled the helicopter:

According to the suit, Aviles was playing around with his phone before the crash, FaceTiming when he should have been paying attention.

Now, this is Desouza’s word against a dead man’s, and nothing has been proven. The US National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, but says it could take over a year to determine why the crash went down.

But pilots playing around with personal tech in the cockpit has been a problem for a while, and even though air authorities banned personal electronics in cockpits last year, it hasn’t stopped distracted flying tragedies from taking place. A few months ago, federal investigators discovered that the pilot of a small plane had crashed because he was distracted taking selfies and using his phone. [Palm Beach New Times]

Image via Wikimedia Commons