Victorian man Bruce Towers is fighting for more than $9 million in a civil trial in the Cairns Supreme Court after he was left a paraplegic following a helicopter crash while working in Papua New Guinea in 2006. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
Victorian man Bruce Towers is fighting for more than $9 million in a civil trial in the Cairns Supreme Court after he was left a paraplegic following a helicopter crash while working in Papua New Guinea in 2006. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN

Chopper crash victim to await judge’s decision on $9m claim

HELICOPTER crash survivor Bruce Towers didn't know whether to be relieved or nervous after a 14-year legal battle "probably" ended in a Cairns court yesterday.

The 69-year-old quadriplegic, who crashed while working in Papua New Guinea in 2016, launched legal action for up to $9 million in damages against his employer Hevilift who were found to have breached their duty of care to him.

Three passengers died in the crash, while Mr Towers, who was 55 at the time, suffered serious injury to his C5-C6 spinal cord and was left an incomplete quadriplegic.

Yesterday lawyers from both sides put in their final submissions in the damages claim in the Cairns Supreme Court with Justice Jim Henry expected to deliver his findings within weeks.

The Victorian said the damages claim was never about chasing cash, but acknowledgment of his former employer's negligence.

"The money will make it a lot easier for lots of things, but it's not the money, it's the right," he said, speaking outside court.

During the three-day trial it emerged there was conflict over three key issues - Mr Towers' future economic loss, his life expectancy and some special damages.

The court heard few Hevilift pilots worked past the age of 65, but his barrister Gerard Mullins argued Mr Towers could have worked until he was 70. "He loved being a pilot, he was well regarded in the aviation industry," he said.



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