Burn injuries have reached epidemic proportions in recent years. Approximately 2.4 million burn injuries are reported each year in the United States. Burn injuries are second only to motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. What is even more tragic is that at least half of all burn accidents could have been prevented.
David Repsher and Matthew Bowe were flight nurses aboard a Flight for Life helicopter when it crashed on July 3, 2015. The helicopter took off from a helipad at St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center in Texas in flight for Aspen, Colorado. The helicopter rose 100 feet and started to spin several times before it crashed, exploded, and burned. The helicopter was immediately engulfed in flames. Repsher and Bowe both survived; however, the pilot died immediately.
Repsher’s entire body caught on fire while he was trying to remove himself from the wreckage. He suffered severe burns to over 90 percent of his body, as well as internal injuries, orthopedic injuries, and permanent disfigurement. He currently remains in critical condition at the University of Colorado Hospital. He has already undergone several skin-graft operations and will require more surgeries in the future. Bowe, who also removed himself from the wreckage, suffered severe internal injuries, including spinal injuries that required surgery. He is permanently disabled. Peter W. Rietz is representing the two plaintiffs.
According to 7News Denver, Repsher and Bowe have filed a lawsuit against Air Methods Corporation, the helicopter operator; the helicopter manufacturer, Airbus Helicopter S.A.S. of France; and its distributor, Airbus Helicopters, Inc. The lawsuit alleges that the “helicopter became uncontrollable due to either a malfunction or design defect of the tail rotor system.” Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that “the helicopter was not safe and crashworthy in that the fuel tank ruptured and burst into flames upon moderate ground impact.” The two nurses are seeking unspecified damages.