Air Station Detroit air crew safe following training incident

>By now I’m sure many have heard about the crash of an Air Station Detroit HH-65C helicopter in Lake Huron around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 20.

The great news is that all three of our aviators are OK!

Lt. Vincent Bukowski, 39, HH-65C pilot, from Chicago, Ill.; Lt. Tasha Hood, 27, HH-65C co-pilot, from Bell County, Texas; and Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Samuel Downie, 24, flight mechanic, from Tyler, Texas, were able to safely exit the aircraft before it sank in 45 feet of water in southern Lake Huron.

While we do not want to speculate on what caused the crash, the crew had just completed training with a boat crew from Coast Guard Station Port Huron when the incident occurred. Station Port Huron’s crew quickly rescued all three of Air Station Detroit’s crewmembers from the frigid waters, and they were transported to a local hospital where they were examined and later released.

The crew is resting and working with investigators on the mishap investigation.

The crews of the Coast Guard Cutters Katmai Bay, Bristol Bay and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley are enforcing a safety zone around the crash site, and salvage operations began Wednesday, April 21.

The salvage team has completed initial assessments of the airframe, which is resting on the lake bottom, and operators are currently working on the salvage plan. While on-scene crews are prepared to handle the potential for environmental pollution, initial assessments show no sign of pollution or leakage of any of the estimated 140 gallons of aviation grade fuel on board the aircraft.

The Coast Guard is still assessing the long-term impacts of the loss of this asset, but we fully anticipate being able to meet all operational requirements during the upcoming boating season.

For now, we are just thankful the crew is safe. Check back for updates as we get more information.

Here are photos from yesterday’s salvage operations. These were taken by our Reservist, Public Affairs Specialist First Class John Masson.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Tags: , , , , , , ,