Army National Guard: Human Error Caused Fatal NY Helicopter Crash

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The crash of an Army National Guard helicopter during a January training exercise in upstate New York, which killed three troops, was caused by human error, according to National Guard authorities.

At a press conference in Rochester on Thursday, Col. Richard Goldenberg, public relations officer for the New York National Guard, stated that the crew’s actions during the Jan. 20 training flight “placed the aircraft in a situation where it became unrecoverable.”

Officials reported the UH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopter crashed in a farmer’s field in Mendon, at 6:30 p.m., south of Rochester.

The crew was reportedly practicing night vision goggle competency, according to National Guard officials.

Chief warrant officers Steven Skoda and Daniel Prial, both of Rochester, and Christian Koch, of Honeoye Falls, were all killed in the collision.

The families of the three pilots, all of whom had served in Afghanistan before, have been informed of the findings of the Guard’s inquiry into the incident, according to Goldenberg.

lgnews-Army-National-Guard“Due to the complicated flying situations that our pilots and crews must prepare for, military aviation is inherently risky,” Goldenberg added.

“It may also be a harsh atmosphere, with life-or-death decisions and actions, regardless of the circumstances, whether mechanical, weather-related, or crew-related.”

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