Monday, November 25, 2013

New York Air National Guard 174th Attack Wing to resume training flight operations 2 weeks after drone crash

FORT DRUM -- Nearly two weeks after a military reaper drone crashed into Lake Ontario, the New York Air National Guard's 174th Attack Wing will resume local area training flight operations from its base at Fort Drum.

Operations were suspended after a MQ-9 drone, which took off from the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield at Fort Drum Tuesday, November 12, crashed in a routine training mission into Lake Ontario that afternoon.

The Air Force Accident Investigation Board (AIB) continues to investigate the cause and circumstances leading up to the crash, which happened about 20 miles northeast of the Port of Oswego.

Last week, members of the Sandy Creek Fire Department helped the Coast Guard, U.S. Navy divers and Air Force search for remaining debris along the shoreline, in the area of Jefferson and Lewis Counties. The search was halted on Friday.

The Air National Guard says the debris is not hazardous, but should be handled with caution. If you come across what you think could be wreckage, you're asked to call the Emergency Operations Center at (315) 233-2257, or 233-2258.

Colonel Greg Semmel, 174th Attack Wing Commander thanks military personnel and civilians for their efforts in the search and response to the crash.

"From local first responders in the Sandy Creek Fire Department to the assistance of the Coast Guard and U.S. Navy and Air Force efforts to determine the cause of this mishap and prevent future issues. Our decision to return to training flights is based on a careful review all facets of our MQ-9 flying program over the past two weeks, along with consultations with our training and technical experts and those from the Air National Guard and Air Combat Command," Col. Semmel said in a release to CNY Central.

The 174th Attack Wing is home to an Air Force formal training site for MQ-9 pilots, sensor operators and maintainers.

The investigation is expected to take about a month; Results will not be made public.

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