The claimant brought a fatal accidents claim against the defendant following a helicopter crash in the Andes Mountains. The claimant alleged that the defendant breached their duty as an employer to ensure the safety of the flight.
The defendant did not charter the flight. This was done by a Peruvian investment company with whom the defendant had been working. Quotes were obtained by the Peruvian company and one of the quotes received advised against crossing the Andes because of the remote and inhospitable terrain. However, the company went with an operator willing to fly the route it wanted. The defendant did not make any enquiries to satisfy themselves as to the safety of the trip.
The court found that the defendant owed the deceased a duty not to subject him to unnecessary risk and to take reasonable care to ensure that he was reasonably safe while travelling to and from work.
The court held that the defendant should have inquired of the Peruvian company as to details of the flight operator, the helicopter to be used, the flight route and how they satisfied themselves as to the safety of the flight route. If the defendant had made the safety enquiries required to make an appropriate risk assessment, it would have instructed its employee not to take the flight because of safety concerns, and he would have listened. The defendant’s breach therefore caused their employee’s death.