Updated: February 22, 2021 07:28 PM
Created: February 22, 2021 01:22 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C.(WHEC) —United States Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Monday he is calling for a federal investigation into the safety of vertical lift programs in the U.S. Army and Air National Guards in wake of two recent deadly Black Hawk helicopter crashes.
In a letter to Comptroller General Eugene Dodaro, Schumer requests the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct the investigation, as he says, the crashes exposed an "increased risk" associated with vertical lift aircraft, and added the frequency of crashes demands "greater examination" into their cause.
Schumer called on the GAO to answer and investigate the following questions in a letter sent following both crashes:
The first crash happened in Mendon on Jan. 20, it killed three New York National Guard soldiers. Chief Warrant Officers Christian Koch, Steven Skoda and Daniel Prial all died as they were out on a routine training mission. Then, on Feb.3, three Idaho National Guard soldiers were killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash. Those soldiers were also on a routine training mission. News10NBC found there were a total of four crashes in just over a year.
The incidents involved the UH-60 model, a model News10NBC investigated in January. Previously, NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called for the copters to be grounded while the Pentagon continues its investigation into the crashes.
Schumer said the federal investigation would run along with the Pentagon's, the senator reaffirmed his support for that investigation.
Schumer's full letter is below.
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