Families Blame DynCorp for Soldiers’ Deaths

(CN) – Families of seven soldiers killed in a 2007 Black Hawk helicopter crash in Italy say DynCorp International’s shoddy maintenance caused the fatal crash.

     The complaint in San Antonio Federal Court claims the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter suffered catastrophic failure of its flight control system due to improper reinstallation or misrigging of its yaw control.
     Killed in the crash in Aviano, Italy were Joshua Hanak, Kenneth Hauprich, Robert Rogers, Tanisha Pryor, Derrek Smith, Michael Costley and Mark Lalli.
     Their families seek damages for federal and state claims, including negligence, gross negligence, breach of express and implied warranties, negligent and intentional misrepresentation and wrongful death. They seek punitive damages.
     An investigation revealed a pattern of neglect on the part of DynCorp employees, including ignoring damage to the flight control system and numerous flight control grounding faults, the complaint states. The analysis also found evidence that a left-hand yaw control repeatedly malfunctioned during the flight, causing impact marks distinct from those caused by the craft’s colliding with the ground.
     The families say DynCorp used incorrect flight system hardware, failed to properly torque parts, and installed hardware incorrectly, violating its contractual obligations.
     Company employees falsified maintenance records to put the helicopter back in service after bypassing safety protocols, the families say.
     The plaintiffs are represented by Geoffrey Courtney with Clemens & Spencer.

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