Contractors Sued Over 2003 Pave Low Crash

Widows of three airmen killed in a 2003 US Air Force MH-53 Pave Low crash in Afghanistan are now suing the helicopter’s manufacturer—Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.—and two companies that provided fuel tank installation and maintenance—Lear Siegler Services Inc. and Smiths Aerospace LLC. According to the Associated Press, the widows claim the companies were negligent in producing and installing the external fuel tanks on the helicopter and failed to install a backup jettison system. Four airmen and an Army special operator were killed on Nov. 23, 2003, shortly after takeoff from Bagram AB, Afghanistan. A subsequent Air Force report showed that a compressor caused one of the two engines to stall, with the other stalling when the crew attempted an emergency landing. AP reports that Sikorsky says there have been “no red flags” about fuel tank defects and that it cannot control “possible misuse.”