3 National Guard members killed in Black Hawk helicopter crash in New York

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter carrying three National Guard members crashed Jan. 20, 2021 during what was described as a routine training exercise.

The helicopter, which was used for medical evacuations departed from the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport and crashed around 6:30 p.m. in Mendon, N.Y., according to news reports. Initial witness reports described hearing sputtering sounds, seemingly from the helicopter’s engine, and reported seeing the helicopter flying lower than normal, law enforcement stated during a press conference the night of the crash. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Black Hawk helicopter was reportedly assigned to the C Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion.

“While it’s too early to speculate on what may have caused this crash, we do know that the UH-60 Black Hawk has been at the center of several tragic disasters in recent years due to apparent design flaws and mechanical failures, and several of our servicemembers have tragically lost their lives,” said Motley Rice aviation attorney Mary Schiavo, a former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation and a CNN transportation analyst. “My colleagues and I have worked for years to investigate the mechanics of these helicopters and we believe their safety has been a question for far too long. No family should ever have to wonder whether their loved one’s life is in danger due to something as preventable as a mechanical failure.”

Motley Rice aviation attorneys have extensive experience with Black Hawk helicopter crashes through investigations and litigation, including a UH-60 Black Hawk crash in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in November 2020. The firm also investigated and is in current litigation of a MH-60 Black Hawk crash off the Yemen coast after engine failure. The case is against General Electric and other component manufacturers. Motley Rice also litigated a case of an U.S. Army-owned Sikorsky MH-60M Black Hawk helicopter that crashed during a training flight at Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, Ga. in 2014, which resulted in the death of the pilot and serious injuries to the other crewmembers.

If you or someone you know has information about this crash, that may assist Motley Rice’s investigation of this crash, we would appreciate your contacting Motley Rice aviation attorney Mary Schiavo and Jim Brauchle, a former U.S. Air Force navigator, by email or call 1.800.768.4026.