A helicopter crash in the town of Mendon claimed the lives of three New York National Guard soldiers.
Officials confirmed that the three on-board did not survive after the Blackhawk medical evacuation helicopter went down around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Neighbors believe the soldiers acted in one last heroic way, ensuring that the helicopter did not crash onto any nearby homes.
The Federal Aviation Association was actively involved in the investigation of the crash. According to News10NBC, a spokesperson for the Division of Military and Naval Affairs Eric Durr says they were part of the C-Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion, which is based at a facility at Rochester International Airport said that around 80 soldiers operate six UH-60 helicopters.
It was a routine training mission on Wednesday. “They were doing a routine training mission which means you basically flying out and back just to get flying hours in and to exercise your skills,” Durr told News10NBC.
Witnesses in the area of the crash, which occurred off of West Bloomfield Road between Cheese Factory and Boughton Hill roads, say they heard the engine of the helicopter get loud – then a sudden bang, which was followed by silence.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was devastated by the news. “National Guard members are our citizen soldiers who voluntarily serve and protect both here and abroad, and I extend prayers and condolences from all New Yorkers to the family, loved ones and fellow soldiers of these honorable heroes who we will never forget,” he said. “I am directing that flags on all State buildings be lowered to half-staff tomorrow in honor of and in tribute to these New Yorkers who dedicated their service to nation and state.”
Congressmen Chris Jacobs (R-27) and Joe Morelle (D-25), who both represent parts of the region shared their sadness following the crash.
“I am deeply saddened by the news of the National Guard helicopter crash in Mendon this evening that resulted in the loss of three lives. My prayers are with the loved ones of these service members lost. I am closely monitoring the situation as details emerge, and stand ready to provide assistance in any way I can,” Jacobs said.
It was difficult for everyone.
“I am heartbroken by last night’s tragic helicopter crash that took the lives of three brave National Guardsmen. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these heroes who dedicated their lives to serving and protecting the people of New York,” Morelle added.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was heartbroken by the circumstances. “These National Guard members answered the call to help and serve their fellow New Yorkers and their country, and their sacrifices will never be forgotten. I send my deepest condolences to the loved ones of those soldiers killed, and the entire Monroe County community,” he said.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted out her condolences to the families of those who were lost in the training exercise. “My heart breaks for the families of the @NationalGuardNY service members killed in a helicopter crash in the Town of Mendon today. These individuals selflessly answered the call to serve and protect – their dedication and commitment will never be forgotten,” she added.
The names of those involved in the crash has not yet been released.
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