PHOENIX (CN) – News helicopter pilot Scott M. Bowerbank failed to maintain his reported position while covering a police chase in Phoenix and climbed into another helicopter piloted by Craig D. Smith, causing the fatal crash in July 2007, Smith’s parents claim in Maricopa County Court.
Smith’s parents sued Bowerbank, Belo Corp., the media chain that owned the helicopter Bowerbank piloted, and his employer, KTVK-TV.
The Smiths claim the sudden altitude change “violated applicable Federal Air Regulations (FARs), good VFR [visual flight rules] flying practices and specific procedures which had been established for ENG [electronic news-gathering] helicopters operating in controlled airspace over the city of Phoenix.” They say the maneuver made it impossible for Smith to avoid the crash.
The KNXV-TV Channel 15 helicopter piloted by Smith and the KTVK-TV Channel 3 helicopter piloted by Bowerbank collided on July 27, 2007, killing everyone aboard both choppers.
The Smiths are represented by Donna Platt, the personal representative of Craig D. Smith’s estate.