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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Rotorcraft Report: U.S. Coast Guard Seeks Cause of HH-65C Crash

MILITARY

U.S. Coast Guard officials are seeking to understand why an HH-65C crashed during a training flight off the Hawaiian island of Oahu on Sept. 4, killing all four crewmembers.

The aircraft, upgraded in the last year or so to the "Charlie" configuration with new Turbomeca Arriel 2C2 engines, was conducting search and rescue drills with a 47-ft motor lifeboat when it crashed about 5 mi south of near Honolulu International Airport about 2015 local time.

Killed in the crash were Cmdr. Thomas Nelson, the pilot; Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Wischmeier, the copilot; Petty Officer 1st Class David Skimin, the rescue swimmer, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Nichols, the flight mechanic.

The aircraft’s fuselage and flight data and voice recorders have been recovered and are being examined for clues to the crash.

The crash reportedly was the first of a Coast Guard helicopter in Hawaii since January 1982, when an HH-52 Sea Guard crashed into a cliff during a rescue mission in bad weather. Three people were killed in that accident.

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