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SANTA PAULA : Actor Files Claim in Airport Crash

Actor Kirk Douglas has filed claims against Santa Paula, Ventura County and the state for injuries he suffered during a midair collision that killed two men at Santa Paula Airport.

Douglas is seeking a minimum of $10,000 in damages from each agency in the claim filed Thursday.

Similar claims were filed by Beverly Hills Police Officer Michael Carra on Friday and cartoon voice Noel Blanc on Wednesday. The three men were hospitalized with various injuries after the accident.

A claim is required before a lawsuit can be filed against a public agency.

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The crash occurred when a Bell JetRanger helicopter piloted by Blanc collided with a small plane during takeoff at Santa Paula Airport. The plane’s pilot, Lee Manelski, 46, and his passenger, David Tomlinson, 18, were killed.

All three sets of claims allege that the Santa Paula Airport runway and helicopter pad are too close together and that the public agencies are responsible for regulating and designing the airport.

The day after the accident, federal investigators said the collision was caused by the failure of both pilots to see and avoid each other. An investigator said Manelski’s plane had the right of way when Blanc’s helicopter crossed its path.

Three weeks ago, Manelski’s family filed wrongful death claims against the city, the county and the state, also alleging that the airport design partly caused the accident. The claims seek $5 million in damages each.

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