BOISE -- A helicopter carrying two Idaho Fish and Game biologists and a pilot crashed around noon Friday in the Kelly Creek area on the North Fork of the Clearwater River.
Officials say none of the three people on board suffered life-threatening injuries.
The two research biologists were trapping and radio-collaring elk, moose and wolves.
The pilot and the biologists were in a Hughes 500 helicopter operated by Quicksilver Air.
Fish and Game biologists routinely fly in aerial surveys, wildlife counts and capturing wildlife for research.
The last incident of this type involved a wildlife biologist that was killed in Dec. 2000 when the helicopter he was in crashed while on a wildlife count in northern Idaho.
Fish and Game flights have been suspended until Monday, pending review of safety procedures.
A crash of the type and kind involved in this case falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Accordingly, investigators will be sent to examine the site of the crash, the remains of the equipment (aircraft) involved and to interview the survivors and/or witnesses if any concerning the crash. The investigators will also likely review the safety and maintenance records and procedures of the owner of the craft in order to determine the cause of the crash.
The cause of air crashes typically involve three categories, namely: (1) Pilot error; (2) Defect in the design of the aircraft; and/or (3) Negligence in the maintaining of the equipment (aircraft and its components). The investigators will be combing the site for clues and evidence to determine what went wrong in this case.
Those passengers injured have legal rights and remedies that must be pursued in a timely manner prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations. In Idaho, the statute of limitations for personal injury is two (2) years from the date of the crash. Failure to file a lawsuit prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations acts as a complete bar to any recovery for the injuries and damages proximately caused by the negligence of another or that of a product that is defective and unreasonably dangerous.
If the claim involves the state or any municipality (or political subdivision of either), then a notice of tort claim must be served within 180 days of the crash consistent with the Idaho Tort Claims Act (Chapter 9, Title 6, Idaho Code). Failure to serve a notice of tort claim in that case may also constitute a bar to any recovery of any claim for injury or damages if the claim involves the state, a municipality or political subdivision thereof.
If the injured were working within the scope and course of their employment, there is also the possibility of the application of workers' compensation. In that case, other statutes of limitations may also apply which could act as a complete bar to any benefits unless notice and other requirements are not followed. In any case, seeking out competent legal counsel immediately would be well advised to insure that all measures are taken to protect the injured party's legal rights and remedies. Failure to do so could be prejudicial to any legal rights and remedies.
CONTACT INFORMATION: If you or a family member have been injured or damaged due to the fault or responsibility of someone else, an industrial accident or by a dangerous or defective product, drug or toxic substance, contact Alan Morton for a no obligation, free consultation.
For additional information contact:
Alan L. Morton
MORTON LAW OFFICES, CHARTERED
1005 North Eighth Street
Post Office Box 420
Boise, ID 83701-0420
Toll Free: 866.946.1669 [866.WIN.1.NOW]