Man crippled by model helicopter plans civil suit

February 6th, 2009 - 1:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, Feb 6 (DPA) A model aircraft enthusiast, who was crippled after a remote-controlled helicopter hit him on his head, plans to bring civil proceedings for compensation against the person flying the chopper.Lo Kwok-wah, 46, was in a coma for months and is now confined to a wheelchair after being hit on the head by the spinning rotor of a 1.5 metre long model helicopter in January last year.

The accident left a 20-centimetre gash in Lo’s head and caused brain damage that left him unable to move his left arm and leg, a court was told Thursday.

Moments before the incident, Lo saw Chan Man-kin, 40, flying the 6-kg model helicopter in a dangerous manner in a piece of parkland where enthusiasts meet to fly.

Lo warned Chan to be more careful just before Chan lost control of the helicopter, which careered into Lo’s head, the hearing at Hong Kong’s Kwun Tong Magistrates Court heard.

Chan, a baker, was found guilty at Thursday’s hearing of the rare charge of recklessly or negligently causing an aircraft to endanger a person’s property after lengthy legal arguments over whether the model helicopter could be categorised as an aircraft.

Magistrate Jason Wan ruled that the Air Navigation Ordinance, under which the charge was brought, extended to the model helicopter, which was worth around $5,500. Chan was fined 5,000 Hong Kong dollars ($644) for the offence.

Speaking after the case, Lo, a model aircraft enthusiast for 18 years, said he was delighted with the outcome and planned to bring civil proceedings against Chan for compensation.

Lo, a father of two, worked as a bus company operations manager before the accident but had been forced to give up work because of his injuries.

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