Angela Gentry says her country music star husband had ‘virtually no chance’ of survival
Nearly six months after the helicopter crash that claimed the life of country star Troy Gentry, his wife has taken legal action against the manufacturer of the fatal aircraft.
Angela Gentry filed a suit in Pennsylvania on Feb. 14 against Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Sikorsky Global Helicopters and Keystone Helicopter Corp, blaming them for “dangerous defects which caused” the death of her husband.
The singer, one half of Montgomery Gentry, died on Sept. 8 when the Model 269 Schweitzer helicopter in which he was riding tumbled out of the sky near the Flying W Airport & Resort in Medford, New Jersey — where the vocal duo was due to perform later that day.
According to Angela’s lawsuit, the pilot offered to take Troy on a sightseeing ride. Both men were killed in the crash, which a preliminary incident report by the NTSB attributed to engine trouble that occurred shortly after takeoff.
“Just as soon as the helicopter became airborne, the throttle cable jammed and the engine went to high speed,” state the lawsuit documents, obtained by PEOPLE. “The decision was made to shut down the engine with the mixture control (i.e., cutting off the gas) at an altitude of 959 feet, or about 850 feet above ground level and perform a routine autorotation safely to the ground. Because of defects in the engine, throttle cable attachment and collective control, the helicopter did not enter autorotation as expected.”
The problem, according to the suit, caused “the helicopter to drop like a stone to the ground below, killing all aboard.”
While the military variant of the craft had been equipped with “modern crashworthy features,” the civilian version that carried Troy lacked these same fail-safes, “so that in the event of an accident, occupants had virtually no chance to survive or be less injured.”
The suit asks for “damages of more than $50,000,” as well as interest and legal costs.
In addition to his wife, Troy leaves behind two daughters: Kaylee, 15, and Taylor, 24. His final album with longtime partner Eddie Montgomery, Here’s to You, is out now.
Elsewhere, Country music Hall of Famer Don Williams also passed away Sept. 8 at the age of 78 following a “short illness.” Read how the genre reacted to the loss of these two stars here.