MENDON, N.Y. (WROC) — Three soldiers are dead after a military helicopter crashed in Mendon Wednesday.
A police procession escorted the deceased military members from the crash site to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office Thursday morning.
According to the New York Army National Guard, the UH-60 medical evacuation helicopter was on a routine training mission when it crashed in a farmer’s field along West Bloomfield Road near Cheese Factory Road
Investigators with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office say the crash happened around 6:32 p.m. Witnesses reported hearing sputtering sounds and seeing the helicopter flying low to the ground.
Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter says emergency crews arriving on scene saw the helicopter on fire in the field, and “went into life-saving mode.”
“This is a heavy heavy burden on all of us,” Baxter said. “We’re waiting for the National Guard for confirmation of who was on board and identification of our great soldiers.”
The New York Army National Guard released a statement Wednesday evening saying:
A New York Army National Guard UH-60 medical evacuation helicopter based at the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport crashed earlier tonight in the Town of Mendon, New York while on a routine training mission.
The aircraft was assigned to C Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion. There were three Soldiers on board killed in the crash.
The incident is under investigation.
“We had a Black Hawk in the middle of Mendon go down with three great Americans on it,” Baxter said, “so keep them in your minds and your prayers.”
Baxter said teams would work through the night and likely into the morning to determine the extent of the debris field. A portion of West Bloomfield Road will be closed during that time.
“We’ll maintain this scene for hours, if not maybe a day or two,” Baxter said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed flags on all state buildings be lowered to half-staff tomorrow in honor of the National Guard members who lost their lives. He released a statement Wednesday evening saying:
I am devastated by the news tonight of a New York Army National Guard helicopter crash in the Town of Mendon that killed three of New York’s bravest during a training mission.
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.
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.”
Senator Chuck Schumer released a statement Wednesday evening, saying:
I am heartbroken by the news that three of New York’s brave Army National Guardsmen have been killed in a helicopter crash during a training mission. 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.