NTSB: 5-Year-Old Girl May Have Caused Fatal Copter Crash

Posted By Craig McClellan || Nov 15, 2012

Billionaire Thomas Stewart and four members of his family died nearly three years ago in a tragic 2010 helicopter crash. The National Transportation Safety Board has finally released the results of its investigation into the crash. Its report points to a surprising conclusion: Stewart's 5-year-old daughter probably played a pivotal role.

How could a 5-year-old girl cause a fatal aviation crash? The NTSB thinks it was a tragic accident.

Although the NTSB cannot be completely certain, it based its finding on two big factors. The first involves the physical evidence from the wreckage. It appears that the helicopter crashed after the horizontal rotors cut into the aircraft's tail.

The wreckage bore some indicators that this happened because of overly sharp steering corrections - the helicopter apparently veered up and down rapidly in a short period of time. This overcorrection caused the rotors to bend too far and strike the tail.

Eyewitnesses also reported seeing Stewart sitting in the copilot's seat and placing his daughter on his lap right before takeoff. The helicopter had two sets of flight controls - one was located right in front of that copilot's seat. According to the NTSB, it is very likely that the 5-year-old girl accidentally kicked or shoved the altitude controls, sending the helicopter into a steep dive. When the pilot quickly tried to recover, the rotors bent too far and destroyed the helicopter.

These findings could have an impact on the ongoing lawsuits in this case. For starters, the NTSB indicated that the pilot was potentially at fault for failing to maintain proper "cockpit discipline." If he hadn't allowed the girl to sit on Stewart's lap, the disaster might not have happened.

Source: Sonoran News, " NTSB says five year old probably caused 2010 Eurocopter crash," Linda Bentley, Nov. 14, 2012

Categories: Plane Crash
Blog Home


  • “We will NEVER forget what you did for us Craig. We are FOREVER GRATEFUL.”

    - K.V.

  • “It was a real honor to preside over a case with you as counsel. In my mind you represent all that is good in our profession.”

    - Judge J.

  • “We wouldn’t be here, in this moment of life without the kindness and professionalism of you all and how you went to bat for us! Eternally grateful!”

    - A.K.

  • “I thank you for your kindness and generosity in giving selflessly without reserve. Additionally, please extend my thanks to your staff for their diligent work and encouragement throughout the trial.”

    - A.D.

  • “I just wanted to thank you for your efforts on [Pam’s] behalf, your skills, and your heart. You are not just a lawyer in what you do, you are a master of your profession. And I hope you are passing your mastery to others who may stand in on behalf of the weak or the helpless. It is an honorable effort and a world of mercy. I saw the extreme and extended dedication you put forth yield the best possible results on [Pam’s] behalf.”

    - Juror

View More

Our Awards & Accolades