Widow of pilot in Puko’o crash sues helicopter manufacturer

| November 8, 2013 | 0 Comments

The widow of the pilot in the helicopter crash that killed five people in the Puko’o area of East Molokai is suing the aircraft’s manufacturer.

The smoking crash site near Kilohana Elementary School. The rugged terrain and poor weather did not allow a closer view of the crash.

The smoking crash site near Kilohana Elementary School. The rugged terrain and poor weather did not allow a closer view of the crash.


The Associated Press reported that Violeta Escobar filed a lawsuit in federal court in Hawaii this week against manufacturer European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which originally reported the story earlier today, Escobar is also suing the owner of the helicopter. The suit comes a few days before the statute of limitations expires on making a claim.

Escobar’s husband, Nathan Cline, was the pilot for Blue Hawaiian Helicopters who died in the crash. The crash also killed four tourists: newlyweds Michael Abel and Nicole Abel of Pennsylvania, and Stuart Robertson and Eva Birgitta Wannersjo of Toronto.

Escobar claims in the lawsuit that the companies should have known of manufacturing defects that could cause the structure and components of the Eurocopter EC-130 to fail without warning. But the lawsuit doesn’t specify what was defective about the helicopter or the way it was built.

The Associated Press reported that they left messages for the manufacturer seeking comment.

The site where the Blue Hawaiian helicopter crashed on a ridge in November 2011. Below can be seen the Keawanui Shrimp Farm and the Keawanui fishpond.

The site where the Blue Hawaiian helicopter crashed on a ridge in November 2011. Below can be seen the Keawanui Shrimp Farm and the Keawanui fishpond.


The National Transportation Safety Board has not identified the cause of the crash or issued a final report. NTSB investigators have said a witness told them he saw “something black fall off” just before the helicopter crashed. He said the “tail fell.”

Federal investigators have focused on the tail section, where a metal ring was fractured.

Gusting winds and intermittent heavy rain showers occurred on the day of the crash although it was not raining at the time of the crash. The Molokai News interviewed a witness who spoke about the weather conditions prior to the crash.

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