Updated: February 06, 2021 09:55 AM
Created: February 05, 2021 06:52 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — News10NB has new information on Deanna Dewberry's in-depth investigation of the deaths of 11 soldiers in helicopter crashes.
We just got our hands on this urgent request from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. In a letter, she asks the Pentagon to investigate the disturbing pattern of crashes involving the UH-60 Black Hawk.
She writes that she wants the Pentagon to determine if the crashes "fit a larger pattern of malfunction with the UH-60 black hawk helicopter."
This week, a UH-60 Black Hawk went down in Idaho, killing all three Army National Guardsmen on board. Last month's accident near Mendon also occurred during a nighttime training exercise, killing all three soldiers on board.
In August 2020, a Black Hawk very similar to the UH-60 called the MH-60 went down near San Clemente Island, California, during a training mission, killing two soldiers and injuring three others.
In December 2019, the Nation Guard grieved again when three soldiers from Minnesota lost their lives during a training exercise.
We now know the cause of that crash in Minnesota. The first engine of the chopper failed while the second engine was in an idle setting. Why did that first engine fail? It was installed incorrectly. Could that have been the case in the other three crashes? We don't know, but Gillibrand says we have to find out.
In Dewberry's in-depth look at these crashes, she interviewed military crash investigators who both say the UH-60 Black Hawk is a reliable chopper with redundant safety systems. But the senator argues, when 11 soldiers have died in four crashes in just over a year, the Pentagon must investigate whether a systemic issue led to the accidents.
The U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center say their crash investigations usually take about six months.
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