The family of the flight nurse who was killed in a helicopter crash earlier this year in northern Iowa has filed a lawsuit that claims the company that owned the helicopter and the pilot were negligent. The husband, two minor children and parents of Shelly Lair-Langenbau are the plaintiffs in the case against Med-Trans Corporation of Texas.

The lawsuit claims the pilot Gene Grell took off in icing conditions from Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa in Mason City on the night of January 2nd headed toward the Palo Alto County Hospital in Emmetsburg. The helicopter crashed a short time later north of Ventura, killing Grell, Lair-Langenbau and paramedic Russell Piehl of Forest City.

The suit claims Med-Trans knew that Bell 407 helicopters were not safe to operate in icy conditions and that Med-Trans had a “go at any cost” philosophy that placed corporate profit over safety.

By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City