UPDATED 8:08 PM PT – Wednesday, January 20, 2021
A routine training mission turned into tragedy after a helicopter crashed in Upstate New York. On Wednesday, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter revealed that at approximately 6:30 p.m. local time several calls were made to 9-1-1 reporting a low-flying aircraft.
“According to the 9-1-1 reports, and again this is all preliminary so it could change, but there was calls of sputtering sounds of an engine and that the aircraft was flying very low,” he explained. “And then shortly there after reports of a crash, of the sounding of a crash and then, of course, reports that came in for the crash itself.”
Emergency personnel arrived on scene to find the helicopter still ablaze and a debris field the size of several city blocks.
“It is with heavy hearts that we stand before you tonight. Another example that freedom is not free.” -Sheriff Baxter while addressing media on the tragic military helicopter crash in the Town of Mendon. pic.twitter.com/SvppOHtgrg
— Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (@monroesheriffny) January 21, 2021
The helicopter was identified as one of the National Guard’s UH-60 medical evacuation helicopters assigned to C Company of the 1st Battalion 171st General Support Aviation Battalion. It was on a routine training mission out of an Army aviation support facility at Rochester International Airport.
Officials confirmed the three people onboard ,who are believed to be guardsmen, all perished. The names of the victims have not yet been disclosed.
As the investigation continues, a number of New York officials have issued statements sharing their condolences for the families involved.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) praised the guardsmen who he said, “answered the call to help and serve their fellow New Yorkers. The senator continued, stating “their country and their sacrifices will never be forgotten.”
Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has ordered flags on all state buildings to be lowered to half-staff.
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