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October 13, 2009 - Helicopter Maker Sued for Post-Crash Fire

A helicopter fire that killed four people after an Easton, Wash., crash could have easily been prevented by the chopper's manufacturer, an attorney says.

Among those killed in the August 2007 crash and fire were two South Korean furniture makers. An attorney representing one of the family of one of the victims, has filed suit claiming manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co. failed to strengthen the gas tanks aboard the craft despite knowing that post-crash fires were a danger.

Instead of strengthening the tanks, Robinson merely issued safety warnings suggesting the wearing of flame-retardant flight suits, helmets and gloves.

"We think that all four of these people could have survived this crash, should have survived this crash, if not for this defective gas tank," the victims' lawyer said of the suit filed last month in King County Superior Court. He said similar fires have followed dozens of chopper crashes around the world and prompted the company to issue a single-paragraph warning to users in July 2006.

A Robinson spokesperson said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

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