‘Jus­tice’ for he­li­copter death

Judge’s rul­ing of breach of duty puts grieving fam­ily in line for pay­out

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Court Re­porter buck­snews@trin­i­tysouth.co.uk

THE fam­ily of an in­vest­ment banker who was killed in a he­li­copter crash in the An­des dur­ing a work trip is in line for a multi-mil­lion pound dam­ages pay­out from his em­ploy­ers.

De­voted fa­ther-of-two, To­mas Dusek, 37, from Ger­rards Cross, was among a dozen ex­ec­u­tives who died when their char­tered he­li­copter crashed into the Mama Rosa moun­tain in Peru in 2012.

Mr Dusek’s wife, An­gela, and his chil­dren, aged five and eight, launched a claim for dam­ages against his Lon­don-based em­ployer, Stor­mHar­bour Se­cu­ri­ties LLP, in­sist­ing it had failed to en­sure the flight was safe.

A top judge at Lon­don’s High Court has now ruled in the fam­ily’s favour, find­ing that Mr Dusek would still have been alive

AC­CO­LADE: Owner of Kid­dley­di­vey, Sally Mur­phy, is de­lighted with her achieve­ment in com­pe­ti­tion Care Home Idol if Stor­mHar­bour had made a proper safety in­quiry be­fore the fa­tal flight.

Mr Jus­tice Ham­blen said Stor­mHar­bour was “in breach of its duty of care” – paving the way for a mas­sive pay­out to Mr Dusek’s dev­as­tated rel­a­tives.

The judge said Mr Dusek, who was earn­ing over £100,000, died along­side 11 other ex­ec­u­tives as they flew to re­mote foothills in the An­des to ob­serve a billion-dol­lar hy­dro-power project on June 6, 2012.

Stor­mHar­bour was in­tro­duc­ing a con­sor­tium of po­ten­tial in­vestors, headed by Sam­sung, to the project, with HeliCusco char­tered to fly them to the site, which was only ac­ces­si­ble by air or via a jun­gle route on the ground.

But dur­ing a leg of the trip be­tween Mazuco and Cusco, the Peru­vian op­er­a­tor’s Siko­rsky S58ET he­li­copter got into dif­fi­cul­ties at 16,000ft and crashed into Mama Rosa, be­fore catch­ing fire. All 12 pas­sen­gers and two crew died.

Mr Jus­tice Ham­blen said the ac­ci­dent was caused by a “lack of knowl­edge or dis­re­gard of air­craft lim­i­ta­tions” and the “ex­tremely de­mand­ing and un­for­giv­ing en­vi­ron­ment of high moun­tain­ous ter­rain”.

Pay­ing trib­ute to Mr Dusek, col­league Paul Kozary, said: “To­mas was the most in­tel­li­gent per­son I have ever en­coun­tered in my life.

“To­mas was one of these rare peo­ple im­bued with in­cred­i­ble in­tel­lec­tual in­tel­li­gence and com­mon sense.”

The size of the Dusek fam­ily’s com­pen­sa­tion pack­age will now be de­ter­mined ei­ther by agree­ment or at a fur­ther hear­ing.

Speak­ing af­ter the hear­ing, Mrs Dusek said: “We miss him ev­ery hour of ev­ery day... to­day’s verdict will fi­nally give our fam­ily peace that jus­tice has been met for Tom.”

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