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Jonathan Udall and his wife Ellie, perished in the Airbus helicopter accident during a tour of the Grand Canyon

Parents of Grand Canyon helicopter crash victim awarded £78m settlement.—AFP

The parents of Jonathan Udall, a British tourist who tragically lost his life in a Grand Canyon helicopter crash in 2018, are set to receive a substantial £78 million payout.

Jonathan, 31, along with four other Britons, including his newlywed wife Ellie, perished in the Airbus helicopter accident that subsequently erupted in flames during a tour of the Grand Canyon.

The lawsuit, filed for wrongful death by Jonathan's parents, Philip Udall and Marlene Udall, contended that their son could have survived if not for the post-crash fire. 

The approved settlement, sanctioned by a US judge in Clark County, Nevada, designates £19.3 million from helicopter operator Papillon Airways and £59.3 million from Airbus Helicopters SAS, the French manufacturer.

Jonathan Udall's parents expressed their hope that this substantial settlement would incentivise helicopter manufacturers to adopt safer technologies, sparing other parents from enduring similar heartbreak.

Gary C Robb, their lawyer, disclosed the intention to allocate a portion of the settlement money to advocate for helicopter safety and support for burn survivors.

Robb emphasised the urgency of addressing the prevalent issue of unsafe fuel tanks in helicopters, detailing the horrific consequences when fuel spills onto passengers, leading to ignition and severe burns. The Udall family aims to shed light on this public health concern and prompt immediate corrective measures.

The tragic incident involved an Airbus EC130 B4 engulfed in flames after crashing at the Arizona tourist attraction. The group, consisting of friends celebrating a birthday and newlyweds on a Las Vegas trip, experienced devastating losses, with Jonathan Udall succumbing to extensive burns after 12 days in the hospital.

The National Transportation Safety Board's 2021 report attributed the probable cause of the crash to the pilot losing control in tailwind conditions. Pilot Scott Booth, who survived with severe injuries, recounted encountering a "violent gust of wind," leading to the aircraft's spin. 

The Udall family's pursuit of justice culminates in this groundbreaking settlement, emphasising the need for enhanced safety measures in the aviation industry.


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