Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk Helicopter Crashes In Utah <


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Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk Helicopter Crashes In Utah

By Antonio Percy

March 7, 2010 - The Coast Guard will begin investigating one of its own helicopters crashing on Wednesday 50 miles east of Salt Lake City. The Coast Guard Mishap Analysis Board members began work in Layton to determine the reason a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crashed Wednesday. Coast Guard pilot Capt. Glenn Gebele leads the board with assistance of eight other Coast Guard members.

The team will conduct a safety analysis of all aspects of the accident to determine causal factors and make recommendations to prevent the recurrence of similar mishaps in the future.  Factors the team will consider during the investigation include: operations, weather, crew qualifications, maintenance records and recorded aircraft data.

The members of the board have experience in a variety of specialties including flight operations, engineering, medical, aviation support systems and accident analysis.

"We sincerely appreciate the support of officials from the Wasatch County Sherriff’s Department as we begin our work,” said Gebele. “We will gather information from crews, rescuers, the helicopter and the crash site to support our investigation. We anticipate this investigation will take many months to complete and will not be able to provide answers about the cause of the crash until then."

Wednesday's crash occurred at approximately 11:50 a.m. when two Coast Guard helicopters were traveling from Salt Lake City to Kansas City, Kan. The crews were returning to their home base of Elizabeth City, N.C., after a deployment to Washington state to coincide with the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Two of the crewmembers, the pilot Cmdr. Patrick Shaw and flight mechanic Petty Officer 2nd Class Gina Panuzzi, were airlifted by the crew of the second Coast Guard helicopter after it refueled and returned to the scene. The airlifted crewmembers were transported to the University of Utah Hospital where they were treated for internal injuries.

The co-pilot, Lt.Cmdr. Steven Cerveni, was taken by a Summit County AirMed helicopter crew to Inner Mountain Medical Center and treated for a broken leg. He was later transferred to the University of Utah Hospital.

The other two crewmembers of the downed helicopter, who did not suffer any significant injuries, remained on scene to secure the crash site and were later transported by Wasatch County sheriff's department personnel to Inner Mountain Medical Center for evaluation. They were subsequently released in good condition.

"I appreciate the support of the Wasatch and Summit County first responders, and I am very relieved to hear that the crewmembers were recovered and are being cared for at the University of Utah Hospital," said Rear Adm. Wayne Justice, commander of the Coast Guard's 5th District, which is headquartered in Portsmouth, Va. Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., is a subordinate unit to the 5th Coast Guard District.

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