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Pilot of 2008 Bow helicopter crash sues manufacturers

Nearly five years ago, a helicopter fell from the sky and crash-landed onto Whittier Drive in Bow.

It was late December 2008, and the aircraft had been en route from Connecticut to Pembroke when its engine abruptly lost power, forcing pilot and sole passenger Kurt West to perform an emergency descent.

West survived the landing, and he was eventually transported to Concord Hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

But the pilot is now locked in a legal battle with various manufacturers over who was responsible for the accident.

The Massachusetts man is in Concord’s federal courthouse this week suing the manufacturers – Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Rolls Royce Corp. and Goodrich Pump & Engine Control Systems Inc. – for $4 million, alleging that an equipment malfunction triggered the power failure.

West said the force of the landing aggravated a pre-existing gastrointestinal syndrome and induced post-traumatic stress disorder. The defendants dispute both claims.

The defendants also contend the power loss occurred because the aircraft hadn’t been properly cleaned before takeoff, which allowed ice or snow to seep into the engine cavity mid-flight and interfere with the system’s performance. They also said West botched the descent, adding to the impact of the crash and any potential injuries sustained therein.

The jury trial, which began Monday, is expected to last two weeks.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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