PHI Accuses Sikorsky of Hiding Crash Suit Evidence

 - September 1, 2011, 11:15 AM

Offshore oil helicopter service operator PHI is accusing Sikorsky of suppressing evidence related to the cause of a 2009 crash that killed eight aboard an S-76C++ near Morgan, City, La., after a bird strike to the windscreen. In a federal court filing last month, PHI’s attorneys asked for legal sanctions and monetary damages against the helicopter manufacturer for failing to disclose an internal Sikorsky report in the original post-crash litigation. That report faulted the helicopter’s original windscreen and throttle quadrant design as causal crash factors, as opposed to the lighter-weight Aeronautical Accessories replacement windscreen PHI installed after delivery. Post-crash analysis indicated the throttles disengaged after the bird strike. PHI and Aeronautical Accessories settled with the relatives of crash victims. PHI is now seeking to recapture 80 percent of those settlements from Sikorsky because of the evidence in the allegedly suppressed report. Crash plaintiffs are suing Sikorsky separately in a trial scheduled to begin in November. PHI’s attorneys said the report “undermines Sikorsky’s entire defense.” A Sikorsky spokesman said the company will defend itself “vigorously” against the charges.