A Man Who Collided His Snowmobile With a Parked Black Hawk Helicopter is Suing the Government for $9.5 Million

Credits: Haci Productions/YouTube

Jeff Smith is pursuing a $9.5 million lawsuit against the government following a 2019 snowmobile crash involving a Black Hawk helicopter. The crash, which nearly cost Smith his life, resulted in the loss of use of his left arm, respiratory issues, and an inability to work full time.

Smith’s lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of the helicopter crew for parking the aircraft on a rarely used airfield also used by snowmobilers.

Smith’s lawyers argue that the crew was negligent for parking the 64-foot helicopter on the trail without adequate warning to snowmobilers, leaving it unattended, and failing to illuminate it.

Black Hawk Helicopter (Credits: WPSD Local 6)

The crew had landed for night training and testified that such trainings are often conducted in similar locations. However, Smith, a frequent user of the trail, stated that he had never seen a military aircraft land there before.

The lawsuit also implicates the owner of Albert Farms airfield for allowing snowmobilers to use the trail and the helicopter crew to land in the same area. Smith settled with the farm owner for an undisclosed sum.

The lawsuit contends that the helicopter’s presence on an active snowmobile trail was incompatible and dangerous, leading to Smith’s severe injuries.

The U.S. District Court in Springfield is expected to rule on the lawsuit later this year. Smith’s attorney emphasized that the lawsuit was filed after the government failed to respond to their damages claim and highlighted an internal Army investigation that suggested the crew knew they were landing in an area frequented by snowmobilers.

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