- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—GULFPORT — An Oklahoma business seeks nearly $14.3 million in a lawsuit alleging its jet was severely damaged by an Army Black Hawk helicopter that had landed in Gulfport.

Wachob Leasing Co. and Wachob Irrevocable Trust seeks a jury trial and compensatory damages in a lawsuit filed July 21 in U.S. District Court.

Named as defendants are Gulfport Aviation Partners LLC, doing business as Million Air Gulfport-Biloxi, and the United States Army. Million Air is a private aviation service whose work includes storing aircraft.

The lawsuit claims Wachob’s 2007 Cessna Citation 680 Sovereign, a mid-sized jet, was damaged so severely on April 25, 2014, that it had to be sold for salvage.

Derek Wachob is president of Wachob Leasing and CEO of Paragon Industries. Wachob Leasing owned the Cessna, which was leased by Paragon. Wachob reportedly was its main user.

Wachob had flown the aircraft from Tulsa to the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, parked it on the tarmac in front of the Million Air hangar and planned to store it there for two days, the lawsuit said.

Wachob claims Million Air personnel moved the aircraft close to a light pole, and the accident occurred when an Army helicopter taxied toward the light pole as directed by a Million Air employee.

The lawsuit alleges the helicopter’s rotor blades hit the light pole, destroying it, and causing flying metal shrapnel to strike the Cessna, “leaving gaping holes in the fuselage and wings.”

Wachob seeks compensation of $13,229,775, the value of the replacement aircraft minus the amount received for salvage of the damaged aircraft.

It also seeks $822,161.15 for temporary aircraft rental costs and $216,555.14 for out-of-pocket expenses.

The lawsuit alleges Wachob filed a claim with the U.S. Army Claims Service on Oct. 29, 2014, and the claim has not been addressed.


(c)2015 The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.)

Visit The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.) at www.sunherald.com

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