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Parents of British tourist who died from burns in Grand Canyon helicopter crash given £78 million

Parents of British tourist who died from burns in Grand Canyon helicopter crash given £78 million

The Brit died with his wife on their honeymoon back in 2018

The parents of a British tourist who died in a devastating helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon have been given a £78 million payout.

Jonathan Udall, 31, was honeymooning in Las Vegas with his new wife Ellie Milward, 29, and friends Becky Dobson, 27, her boyfriend Stuart Hill, 30, and his brother, Jason Hill, 32, on 10 February 2018.

But tragedy struck when all five Britons died as the Airbus helicopter they were flying in crashed and burst into flames during a tour of the Grand Canyon.

Jonathan and Ellie tragically died after their helicopter crashed over the Grand Canyon.

The newlywed husband suffered burns over 90 percent of his body and died after spending 12 days in hospital after the crash.

His wife Ellie managed to climb free from the helicopter, but he was trapped for several hours while emergency services struggled to get to the scene - hundreds of feet down in the canyon. She also later died due to her burn injuries.

Jonathan's parents claimed in a lawsuit for wrongful death that their son could have survived if not for the post-crash fire – caused by the chopper’s fuel tank they claim was prone to rupturing.

Under the settlement approved by a US judge in Clark County, Nevada on 5 January, the Brit’s parents, Philip and Marlene Udall, will receive £19.3 million from the operator of the helicopter, Papillon Airways, and £59.3 million from its French manufacturer, Airbus Helicopters SAS.

The couple’s lawyer, Gary C Robb, say the pair plan to use a portion of the settlement money to promote helicopter safety and burn survivor support.

Mr Robb told the PA news agency: “The family wanted to shine a spotlight on this public health issue because there are too many helicopters that have this very unsafe, flimsy fuel tank.

“When the helicopter makes a hard landing, it opens up and pours fuel onto the passengers, soaks them in the fuel, and then it ignites, and they are then covered in flame. It is horrific. And it should be corrected immediately.”

Papillon Airways and Airbus Helicopters SAS will pay out £78 million to Jonathan Udall's family.
Brandon Rosenblum/Getty Images

The parents said in a statement issued through their lawyer: “They hope very much that this settlement will induce helicopter manufacturers to replace the dangerous fuel tank with safe technology so no other parents have to go through what they went through with their son.”

A report by the National Transportation Safety Board in the US concluded in 2021 that a probable cause in the helicopter crash was the pilot losing control due to tailwind conditions.

Pilot Scott Booth told investigators that the aircraft had encountered a ‘violent gust of wind’ and began to spin.

The pilot and one other passenger - Jennifer Barham - survived, but suffered severe burns and injuries, and since the crash, Booth has had to have both legs amputated.

Featured Image Credit: Facebook / Brandon Rosenblum/Getty

Topics: News, UK News, US News, Money