Pilot failures, fuel contamination cited in suit over WBTV helicopter crash

8 months ago 4

A copy of the lawsuit shows accusations of contaminated fuel, lack of proper inspections, and piloting failures.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jillian Myers, the wife of WBTV meteorologist Jason Myers, has filed a lawsuit over the November helicopter crash in which Myers and pilot Chip Tayag died, according to court documents filed in Mecklenburg County Superior Court Thursday.

Wilson Air Center, TTWN Media Networks and iHeartMedia are named as defendants.

The suit's main accusations center on Wilson Air Center allegedly providing contaminated fuel for the helicopter. Attorneys for the Myers family cite known reports of fuel contamination, impacting aircraft on the East Coast in 2022, and said the center was negligent in failing to test for contaminants before supplying it.

The suit also accuses Tayag and the helicopter's mechanic, and "vicariously" their employer TTWN Media and its parent company iHeartMedia, of failing to properly inspect the helicopter. Tayag also faces accusations of not safely operating the craft and failing to perform the "proper emergency procedures for engine failure."

The Myers family wants a jury to award them damages, including Myers' net income, in excess of $25,000, along with punitive damages.

At the time, a witness told WCNC Charlotte it appeared Tayag knew the helicopter was in trouble and made an aggressive move to prevent crashing directly onto the interstate.

"I think that he absolutely knew that he was gonna have to put that down," the man said. "He did his best to put it down... Whoever the pilot was, did their best to put that thing down where it wasn't going to injure a lot of people, and in that respect, they did a fabulous job." 

Aviation officials have not yet given an official cause for the crash, and investigations can be lengthy; the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has a standard process it typically follows.

Gary Robb, of Robb & Robb LLC, is the lead attorney representing the Myers family. Robb also represented Vanessa Bryant after Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Southern California.

WCNC Charlotte has reached out to the named defendants in the suit. Only Wilson Air Center has replied, declining to comment on a pending legal matter.

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