Monday, April 02, 2012

Coast Guard: 2010 helicopter crash into Lake Huron 'could have been avoided'

A failure to maintain "situational awareness" during routine training is to blame for the 2010 crash of a Coast Guard helicopter into Lake Huron, the service reported today.

The three crew members who were aboard an HH-65C rescue helicopter when it crashed and sank the night of April 20, 2010 were rescued shortly after it went down and were unhurt.

"Although no single factor caused this mishap, it is likely that it could have been avoided had the crew been more deliberate in recognizing their limitations,” wrote Vice Adm. Brian Salerno, deputy commandant for operations, in summarizing the findings of an investigation into the crash.

The helicopter crashed as the crew attempted to transition from hovering to forward flight. The helicopter was recovered but received "significant structural damage" and remains out of service.

The report outlines several training suggestions based on the incident, focused mainly on instrument awareness during the hovering-to-forward-motion transition. The full final action report is available here.

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