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Robinson R44 Raven

A Robinson R44 helicopter crash in eastern Washington killed two men on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. The deceased have been identified as Mark Manteuffel, 63, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Ryan Sandvig, 68, of Spokane, Washington. Both men were experienced aviators, according to reports.

The Robinson helicopter went down near Bluestem, Washington, at around 4:30 p.m. local time. Emergency responders arrived at the scene and found a fire at the crash site, which was quickly contained. Both Sandvig and Manteuffel were pronounced dead at the scene.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating the cause of the fatal Robinson R44 crash in Lincoln County, Washington. A preliminary report is expected within the next month. A final report on the cause of the crash will take a year or more to complete.


The Robinson R44 is a light, four-seat helicopter produced by Robinson Helicopter Company based in Southern California. First delivered in 1993, the R44 has become one of the most popular civilian helicopters primarily because of its affordable cost. The R44 is widely used for personal, commercial, and instructional purposes.

Despite its popularity, however, the R44 has faced scrutiny over safety concerns. Various crashes and incidents have led to questions about the chopper’s design, including susceptibility to mast bumping, rotor blade failure, and issues with fuel tanks that can intensify post-crash fires. Between 2006 and 2016, the Robinson R44 led all major helicopter models with the highest fatal accident rate.

As of June 27, 2024, there have been 662 incidents involving the Robinson R44 helicopter. Of those, 218 resulted in fatalities.

At Wisner Baum, our aviation attorneys represent victims of Robinson R44 crashes and their families. In June of 2023, we filed a lawsuit against Robinson Helicopter Co. in response to a 2021 crash in Windwhistle, New Zealand. In that incident, the helicopter went down after losing power. All three people onboard sustained serious injuries.

We are also in active litigation against Robinson after an April 2021 crash in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania killed the pilot.

You can read more about our case history against Robinson on this page.


Mark Manteuffel

Dr. Mark Manteuffel was well-known in his native Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Dr. Manteuffel worked as an emergency room physician at Kootenai Health for many years. He was an active member of the Coeur d’Alene Flyers and as senior Aviation Medical Examiner with the FAA, provided aviators with flight physicals.

Manteuffel, 63, was remembered in the Idaho aviation community as a “good friend, great doctor, excellent pilot, and just an all-around wonderful person.”

Ryan Sandvig

Ryan Sandvig was an aviator for most of his adult life. He began his flying career in 1982 when he operated a small aviation company in Montana. He later flew for Evergreen Aviation as a Boeing 727 captain out of McMinnville, Oregon, where he and his wife Suzanne started a family.

Sandvig spent most of his career—over 25 years—with UPS as a Boeing 757/767 captain. In 2015, he retired to spend more time with his family and his many hobbies, including flying helicopters and his float plane. He was a devoted father to three daughters and grandfather to his five grandchildren.

Robinson Helicopter Crash Attorneys With Proven Case Results

The aviation accident attorneys at Wisner Baum have decades of experience litigating cases against Robinson Helicopter Co. Our firm has conducted extensive investigations stemming from R44 incidents and accidents. We have also handled numerous cases stemming from crashes involving the R22 and R66 models.

Our attorneys have visited Robinson’s headquarters in California numerous times to conduct post-crash inspections of the helicopters implicated in our cases and take depositions from Robinson employees.

If you want to speak with an experienced helicopter attorney about your case, call us today at 855-948-5098 or fill out our free and confidential case evaluation form. Our firm litigates helicopter crash cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless we win.


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