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HH-60 Accident report released

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Release Number: 011614

1/16/2014 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. – A civilian volunteer who fell to his death was not properly secured to his harness while he was being lowered from an HH-60G operated by the California Air National Guard. The accident occurred approximately 30 miles east of Visalia, California, Sept. 12, 2013, according to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released today.

Shane Krogen, the founder and executive director of the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew, was being lowered by members of the 129th Rescue Wing at Moffett Federal Airfield, California. The helicopter, working as part of California Joint Task Force Domestic Support counterdrug operations, was participating in the environmental clean-up and restoration of a contaminated marijuana grow site in the Sequoia National Forest.

At the time of the mishap, the HH-60G was piloted by the copilot, and the hoist was being operated from the right side of the aircraft by an aircrew member from the Special Missions Aviation career field. The board president found, by clear and convincing evidence, the cause of the mishap was that Mr. Krogen mistakenly attached the aircraft’s hoist to his self-procured, non-load-bearing, plastic D ring instead of to the metal load-bearing, metal D ring. When the plastic D ring broke, Mr. Krogen fell from the aircraft to the ground from an approximate forty-foot hover and sustained fatal injuries.

The board president found, by the preponderance of evidence, that one of the helicopter crewmembers did not maintain adequate oversight during flight and hoist operations and that Mr. Krogen’s use of his personal equipment excessively cluttered the area around the load-bearing, metal D-ring, interfering with safe connection and visual inspection.

Additionally, personnel from the 129th RQW, JTFDS and the California National Guard did not follow established procedures for determining Mr. Krogen’s status and gaining approval for his participation in the hoist operation. It is the board president’s determination that these three factors substantially contributed to the mishap.

For more information, contact Air Combat Command Public Affairs at (757) 764-5007 or via e-mail [email protected]


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