Idaho Biologists File Lawsuit After Copter Crash

January 9, 2012

Two biologists with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game injured in a helicopter crash while attempting to dart elk, moose and wolves for a study have filed lawsuits against the pilot and others.

The lawsuit seeks damages that include the loss of the helicopter, loss of reputation, investigation costs, loss of earnings and business disruption.

George Pauley a wildlife biologist based in Kamiah, and Craig White, a biologist stationed in Boise, filed their lawsuits Wednesday in 2nd District Court in Lewiston.

The helicopter pilot, Richard C. Swisher, and his wife, Sharon Swisher, on Thursday also filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against companies involved in the building and repair of the engine in the helicopter that crashed on Jan. 8, 2010, after losing power.

The biologists were putting radio collars on elk, moose and wolves about 300 miles north of Boise. Officials at the time said the biologist suffered rib and back injuries, and that the pilot had arm and back injuries.

The Lewiston Tribune reported that Pauley and White are suing for damages in excess of $10,000 each. Besides Swisher, the biologists also name Quicksilver Air, Rolls-Royce Corp. and Rolls-Royce North America of Delaware, The Timken Co. of Ohio, doing business as Timken Alcor Aerospace Technologies of Arizona, H.E.R.O.S. Inc. of California, Arrow Aviation LLC of Louisiana, and 11 Aerospace LLC of Arizona, doing business as ASI Services.

The Swishers are principal owners of Quicksilver Air, a company based in Fairbanks, Alaska. Their lawsuit contends that the company in May 2009 bought a compressor assembly unit from H.E.R.O.S that had been built by Timken. The lawsuit states that after the accident, “It was discovered that the No. 2 bearing in the compressor was fractured resulting in engine failure and power loss.”

 

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