2015 Eglin Air Force Base helicopter crash
On March 10, 2015, a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter of the United States Army crashed off the coast of the Florida Panhandle during a training exercise at Eglin Air Force Base, killing all eleven people on board. The helicopter was reported missing during foggy conditions at 8:30 PM. The helicopter was assigned to the 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion in Hammond, Louisiana.
A UH-60 Black Hawk similar to the one involved
|Date||March 10, 2015|
|Summary||Loss of control due to spatial disorientation|
|Site||Off the coast of the Florida Panhandle, United States|
|Aircraft type||Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk|
|Operator||United States Army|
The Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter was on a night training flight on March 10, 2015 when it disappeared. The Marines on board the helicopter were supposed to be dropped off by the helicopter and make their way ashore to simulate an over-the-beach landing. They had conducted a similar exercise earlier in the day. The helicopter flew into dense coastal fog and disappeared. The wreckage was later found in 25 feet of water off the coast of Pensacola. A later investigation concluded that the cause of the crash was spatial disorientation resulting in the pilots crashing into the Santa Rosa Sound.
Passengers and crewEdit
The Blackhawk helicopter was piloted by Chief Warrant Officer 4 George Wayne Griffin Jr., 37, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 George David Strother, 44 both members of the Louisiana National Guard. The other helicopter crewmen were Staff. Sgt. Lance Jacob Bergeron, 40, and Staff Sgt, Thomas Charles Florich, 26.
There were eleven people on board the helicopter at the time, of whom seven were U.S Marines assigned to a special operations unit and four were U.S Army soldiers and members of the Louisiana National Guard. The Marines on the helicopter were assigned to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Debris from the crash was found on March 11 at 2 AM around Okaloosa Island. The ongoing search for the passengers, which is focused on waters east of Navarre, Florida, has been hampered by heavy fog in the area. On the morning of March 11, a spokesman for the Eglin Air Force Base said that human remains had been found in the area of the search. As of March 12, the bodies of two soldiers on board the helicopter had been recovered.
By March 17, 2015, all 11 bodies from the crash had been recovered and identified.
- Botelho, Greg (March 11, 2015). "U.S. military helicopter crashes off northwest Florida; human remains found". CNN. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Botelho, Greg (March 11, 2015). "U.S. military helicopter crashes off northwest Florida". CNN. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- "Eleven missing after US army helicopter crash in Florida". BBC. March 11, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Crash Victims Include Decorated Marine https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/14/us/military-releases-names-of-7-marines-killed-in-helicopter-crash.html
- New York Times: Hope of Finding Survivors in Army Helicopter Crash Fades MARCH 12, 2015 https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/13/us/army-helicopter-wreckage-found-no-survivors-expected.html
- Reports: Cause of Black Hawk crash released http://www.pnj.com/story/news/military/2015/06/03/blackhawk-crash-cause/28445525/
- Family talks about their son who died in a National Guard helicopter crash http://www.katc.com/story/28534740/family-talks-about-their-son-who-died-in-a-national-guard-helicopter-crash?clienttype=mobile Archived January 9, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
- Phillip, Abby (March 11, 2015). "Human remains found in search for 11 service members involved in helicopter crash". Washington Post. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Robinson, Kevin (March 12, 2015). "At least 2 bodies recovered from helicopter crash". USA Today. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
- Kevin Robinson (March 17, 2015). "Last of soldiers killed in crash recovered". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved March 22, 2015.