Coast Guard Releases
Findings Of Investigation Into 2010 Helicopter Crash
By Mike Mitchell
March 20, 2012 - A failure to observe altitude
restrictions and maintain situational awareness at low
altitudes and high speeds are among six factors the
Coast Guard says contributed to the fatal crash of a
MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter near La Push, Washington on
July 7, 2010.
the date of the crash, the crew were ferrying the
helicopter from Astoria, Oregon to Sitka, Alaska, when
the crash occurred. Eyewitnesses said they saw the tail
of the helicopter clip a large power cable that runs
from La Push to James Island.
Sean Krueger, 33, was pilot in command, Lance Leone, 31,
was co-pilot along with their crew, Brett Banks, 33, and
Adam C. Hoke, 40. (See
Coast Guard Pilot Faces Negligent Homicide Charges In
Deaths Of Flight Crew).
“…operation of the helicopter at high speed and low
altitude created a situation in which there was little
margin for error,” wrote Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara,
Coast Guard vice commandant, in the memo. “And even a
momentary lack of attention increased the potential for
The Jayhawk was being transferred to Air Station Sitka,
Alaska, from the Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth
City, N.C., following a six-month overhaul period. An
ALC crew flew the helicopter to Air Station Astoria,
Ore., where the Sitka-based crew took custody of the
The Jayhawk was being transferred to Air Station Sitka, Alaska, from the Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, N.C., following a six-month overhaul period. An ALC crew flew the helicopter to Air Station Astoria, Ore., where the Sitka-based crew took custody of the helicopter.
after departing, the aircraft struck power transmission lines
and broke apart in flight, coming to rest in approximately 10
feet of water near the Quillayute River Inlet.
Three of four crewmembers were killed the copilot
The principal purpose of the investigation was to identify and better understand what went wrong and what can be done to prevent future crashes. “Coast Guard operations are inherently dangerous, whether carrying out a mission or carrying out daily routine operations,” said Brice-O’Hara. “We hope to honor the memory of those lost by learning all we can from this accident to ensure Coast Guardsmen are fully prepared to safely and proficiently conduct operations.”
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