iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The parents of one of the victims killed in a helicopter crash in New York City’s East River have filed a lawsuit against the pilot, Liberty Helicopters and other operators, claiming the defendants were negligent.Five people drowned after the tourist helicopter plunged into the frigid East River of New York City on Sunday. Officials said the passengers chartered the helicopter for a photo shoot and were tightly harnessed because the doors were left open so they could get better pictures.Killed in the crash were Daniel Thompson, 34, and Tristian Hill, 29, both of New York; Carla Vallejos-Blanco, 29, of Argentina; Brian McDaniel, 26, a firefighter from Dallas; and Trevor Cadigan, 26, who recently moved to New York from Dallas to start a journalism career.The helicopter pilot, Richard Vance, 33, was the only survivor. While Vance was able to immediately free himself from his harness, the passengers remained buckled in and trapped in the helicopter, which flipped over and submerged.Nancy and Jerry Cadigan, the parents of Trevor Cadigan, filed the suit, obtained by ABC News, in New York County Court Tuesday, claiming, among other things, that Liberty Helicopters failed to prepare the passengers properly in the event of a crash and that the company did not provide adequate maintenance on its helicopter to keep it from tipping over.The Cadigans also accused Vance of failing to give the passengers a proper safety briefing and of being ” careless in failing to take reasonable steps to extricate the passengers” after “he secured his own release.”The other defendants named in the suit were FlyNYON, a helicopter charter, and NYONAir, an aviation services company, both of which are in the business of operating, maintaining, servicing and distributing sightseeing helicopters, according to the lawsuit. They, too, are accused of negligence.The lawsuit claims that FlyNYON and NYONAir both allegedly “implemented a policy to cinch passengers into heavy duty harnesses which are tied to the helicopter floor with only a knife for passengers to free themselves from [frigid] waters.” The suit also states that FlyNYON and NYONAir were “negligent in that their policy of so-called helicopter ‘doors-off’ photo flights is inordinately dangerous and risky and should only be permitted for professional photographers in special situations and not for amateur tourist photographers.”Due to the doors being open, the helicopter quickly filled up with water and began to sink, officials said.The helicopter drifted all the way down to E. 59th Street, where rescuers were finally able to reach it and free the trapped passengers by cutting their harnesses, according to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.Vance told New York Police Department investigators a passenger’s harness somehow got wrapped around the fuel shut-off switch, accidentally cutting off the fuel supply to the helicopter and resulting in engine failure, multiple officials briefed on the investigation told ABC News.Gary Robb, a helicopter crash lawyer for 37 years who is representing the Cadigans, told ABC News earlier today that Vance’s explanation of the crash was an unlikely scenario.“I find it implausible that a strap could cause that lever to be actuated because you have to pull it up and back,” Robb said.“These open door helicopters are death traps,” Robb said. “You need to be an escape artist like Houdini if you’re upside down and in cold water.”In a statement announcing the lawsuit this evening, Robb said: “The family wants this helicopter operator to be held fully accountable for their son’s death and to cease and desist this terribly unsafe open-door flight operation. It is their strongest desire that this should never happen again.”In a statement Monday, Liberty Helicopters said, “We are focused on supporting the families affected by this tragic accident and on fully cooperating with the FAA and the NTSB investigations. These agencies have asked us to respect the investigative process by referring all press inquiries to them for any further comment.”ABC News has reached out to Liberty Helicopters, FlyNYON, NYONAir and Vance for comment on the lawsuit but did not immediately hear back.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Large swathes of the revised IORP Directive, including the proposed risk-evaluation for pensions (REP), are to be cut under plans drawn up by European parliamentarian Brian Hayes.The Irish MEP, IORP rapporteur for the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON), also said the introduction of the holistic balance sheet (HBS) was “not realistic in practical terms” and proposed changes to cross-border funding arrangements.In his preliminary report on the Directive, Hayes suggested that neither the European Commission nor the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) had the power to draft additional technical standards – essentially removing the ability to impose additional requirements without parliamentary scrutiny.He also raised concerns about EIOPA’s development of the HBS, arguing that the model was not “realistic in terms of costs and benefits” in light of pension fund diversity across Europe. Attempting to put to bed any speculation about the introduction of capital requirements without a further Directive, the report added that no capital requirements for IORPs based on either Solvency II or the HBS should be developed “at [EU] level”, as these could “potentially decrease the willingness of employers to provide occupational pensions”.The report also removed the requirements for the REP, instead suggesting a fund should conduct risk assessments in line with the “nature, scale and complexity of its activities”.Hayes’s stance comes after a number of changes to the REP, with a compromise draft drawn up by the Council of the EU last year suggesting individual member states would be granted powers to dictate the scale of assessment needed.The Commission’s initial proposal required a regular evaluation of internal risk management procedures, funding requirements and the impact of climate risk on the fund’s portfolio, among other areas.In what appears to be a well-intentioned attempt to remove requirements for full funding from cross-border IORPs, Hayes also proposed that IORP full funding requirements should only take effect from “the moment when the institution starts operating a new or additional scheme”.The wording echoes an earlier proposal to impose full funding requirements only when a cross-border fund is established, potentially allowing for a vehicle to be launched with a single, fully funded member.However, the wording proposed by Hayes made no mention of cross-border activities, implying that the full funding requirements would be imposed on all regulated IORPs.The parliamentarian also amended a clause specifying that member states should allow IORPs to be underfunded “for a limited period of time”, potentially opening the door to host member states to set recovery periods for cross-border funds under their jurisdiction.
In response to growing volumes, Finland-based RoRo and passenger services operator Finnlines has decided to expand its fleet with MS Europalink, a Star-class passenger-freight vessel. Specifically, Finnlines’ Swedish subsidiary, Rederi Aktiebolaget Nordö-Link, bought the 2007-built ship from the Grimaldi Group on January 26, in accordance with the purchase agreement signed earlier.Back in 2013, the ship was sold by Finnlines to the parent company because of insufficient volumes in the Baltic. However, volume trends have reversed and the vessel will join the company on the Germany/Sweden trade.As informed, MS Europalink will be fitted with exhaust gas scrubbers in mid-March and it will start sailing under the Swedish flag on the Malmö–Travemünde route.The vessel, which has a capacity of 4,215 lane meters and 554 passengers, will undergo refurbishment in the public areas, according to the company.Last year, the company launched an investment program to lengthen four of its Breeze-series RoRo ships, including the two optional ones.The first lengthened vessel from the batch, MS Finntide, was delivered to the company in November 2017.Finnlines said that the second vessel, MS Finnwave, has also completed lengthening and is now 30 meters longer. The capacity of the vessel is now 4,192 lane meters, which means that the lengthening added 1,000 lane meters. MS Finnwave has returned to the normal traffic on Uusikaupunki/Turku–Travemünde route.By the end of May, a further two vessels, MS Finnsun and MS Finnsky, will be lengthened.