Pilot's Widow Sues Copter Maker

HONOLULU (AP) -- The widow of a pilot killed in a helicopter crash on Molokai in 2011 is suing the aircraft's manufacturer, saying defective design caused the crash that killed all five people aboard.

Violeta Escobar filed a lawsuit in federal court in Hawaii this week against manufacturer European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. and the owner of the helicopter, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Friday (http://bit.ly/17S9xyl ). The suit comes a few days before the statute of limitations expires on making a claim.

Escobar's husband, Nathan Cline, was the pilot for Blue Hawaiian Helicopters who died in the crash. The crash also killed four tourists: newlyweds Michael Abel and Nicole Abel of Pennsylvania, and Stuart Robertson and Eva Birgitta Wannersjo of Toronto.

Escobar claims in the lawsuit that that the companies should have known of manufacturing defects that could cause the structure and components of the Eurocopter EC-130 to fail without warning. But the lawsuit doesn't specify what was defective about the helicopter or the way it was built.

The Associated Press left messages for the manufacturer seeking comment.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not identified the cause of the crash or issued a final report. NTSB investigators have said a witness told them he saw "something black fall off" just before the helicopter crashed. He said the "tail fell."

Federal investigators have focused on the tail section, where a metal ring was fractured.

The NTSB has also said witnesses reported windy, rainy conditions with low, dark clouds.