Coast Guard air crew safe following Lake Huron crash

CLEVELAND – Three U.S. Coast Guardsmen aboard a U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit HH-65C rescue helicopter are safe after their helicopter crashed during a nighttime training evolution in southern Lake Huron, Tuesday, at approximately 9:45 p.m.

All three aviators were able to safely exit the helicopter before it sank, and were recovered by the crew of a U.S. Coast Guard Station Port Huron 41-foot utility boat. No injuries were reported, but they were taken to a local hospital as a safety precaution where they were later released.

The helicopter crew was conducting nighttime hoist training with Station Port Huron when the aircraft crashed into the water.

The three air crew members are identified as:

  • Lt. Vincent Bukowski, 39, HH-65C pilot, from Chicago, Ill.
  • Lt. Tasha Hood, 27, HH-65C co-pilot, from Bell County, Texas.
  • Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Samuel Downie, 24, flight mechanic, from Tyler, Texas.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Coast Guard Sector Detroit has established a safety zone around the location of the helicopter in preparation for the investigation and salvage operations, which are scheduled to begin Wednesday. The safety zone is approximately nine miles north of Port Huron and encompasses an area of three nautical miles.

The U.S. Coast Guard HH-65C is a multi-mission short range recovery helicopter.

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