Three soldiers killed in New York helicopter crash

Louise Hall
·2 min read
<p>Mendon firefighters and other emergency personnel respond to a military helicopter crash in a field near Cheese Factory Road and W. Bloomfield Road in Mendon, New York</p> (AP)

Mendon firefighters and other emergency personnel respond to a military helicopter crash in a field near Cheese Factory Road and W. Bloomfield Road in Mendon, New York

(AP)

Three soldiers have been killed in a helicopter crash in western New York during a “routine training mission”, military officials have said.

According to the state's division of military and naval affairs, the three national guard members were in a UH-60 medical evacuation helicopter when it crashed in a field on Wednesday.

Their names have not yet been released and the division has said that the incident is under investigation.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the military helicopter crashed in a field in Mendon, a town of around 9,200 about 13 miles south of Rochester, at around 6.30pm.

Witnesses who called 911 reported hearing the sounds of an engine sputtering and said the aircraft was flying very low.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that he was “devastated” by the news that the crash had killed “three of New York's bravest”.

"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,” he said.

The governor announced that flags on all state buildings would be lowered to half-staff on Thursday in honour of the soldiers “who dedicated their service to nation and state”.

The aircraft was assigned to C Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion, and was based at Rochester International Airport, the military affairs division said.

"This is a heavy, heavy burden upon all of us," said Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter at a news conference on Wednesday, The Democrat and Chronicle reported.

"These are our freedom providers, just showing again that freedom is not free. We lost three great Americans today in the service of our country."

A New York State Police helicopter was reported to have assisted in the search for any potential survivors from the air, hovering over the crash site in the field.

No houses were nearby or were thought to have been struck by any debris, Sheriff Baxter said, according to NBC News.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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