Fallen soldier’s wife supports Black Hawk probe after fatal helicopter crash in Mendon

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — After the Black Hawk crash in Mendon last month that claimed the lives of three New York National Guard members, and another fatal UH-60 crash in Idaho, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is asking the Department of Defense to investigate Black Hawk helicopters.

“I do believe there is an issue that needs to be investigated,” says Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. She added, “I don’t know the implications of grounding the entire mission, but if it’s possible, they should.”

Gillibrand says there could be a systemic issue with the aircraft and a closer look is needed so more lives are not lost.

Chief Warrant Officer Christian Koch was one of the three who perished in the farmer’s field in Mendon.

“It was my worst nightmare, and it came true,” says Koch’s wife Teressa DaGama. She supports this probe. She says the crash still doesn’t make sense.

“My husband had over 2,300 flight hours. He was an instructor pilot. He was a standardization pilot. And this was just another regular night,” says DaGama.

Until she says, something went terribly wrong. DaGama says something could be off with the aircraft, especially with an almost identical incident happening in Idaho.

“And I know there are other Black Hawk helicopter pilots out there (who) are scared. And their wives are scared, and their children are scared,” she says.

Gillibrand says asking for this investigation is just a start. She’s confident more will join her call.

“I believe that if I raise this in the Armed Services Committee, there will be other senators who want a full investigation,” says Gillibrand.

“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else, and I want all of these pilots to be safe,” says DaGama.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation by the Army. The New York National Guard says the Black Hawk that crashed in Mendon was manufactured in 1986.

Full statement from Senator Gillibrand:

“These recent helicopter crashes are tragic and reveal a disturbing trend that must be investigated. When our brave service members put on their uniforms and go to work, they should have confidence their command is looking out for the safety and readiness of their equipment. I’m urging the DoD to launch a comprehensive investigation of these UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashes to determine if there is a pattern. I pray for the families of the service members who lost their lives in crashes and I will keep fighting to ensure our armed services have safe equipment.” 

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