Reports on Coast Guard, Marine Corps aircraft collision released

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The U.S. Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy today released the results of their command investigations into the October 2009 collision of Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules CG-1705 and a Marine AH-1W Cobra helicopter off the coast of Southern California.  All seven Coast Guard aircrew members and both Marine Corps aviators were killed in the crash.

All the investigations concluded that no single factor, person or unit caused the mishap, but that it was a tragic confluence of events.   The three command investigations also concluded there was no misconduct on the part of any Coast Guard, Marine Corps or Navy personnel, and all three made recommendations for improving procedures, training and aviation safety.

“We are using what we found in these investigations to improve aviation safety,” said Rear Adm. Joseph Castillo, Commander of the 11th Coast Guard District.  “We are committed to preventing a recurrence of this terrible tragedy.  We owe nothing less to the memories of the dedicated men and woman lost in the crash, their families, their shipmates, and the public,” he said.

Military officials did not wait for the investigations to be completed to begin safety improvements.  Immediately after the accident the services began reviewing policies and procedures and have already implemented many of the recommendations in the reports.

Castillo noted that aviators and technical experts from all three branches of the naval aviation community brought their own unique expertise, experience, and perspectives to the investigations.  “The range of opinions and recommendations strengthens our common effort of improving aviation safety,” he said.  “The services have worked closely throughout the investigations and will continue to do so as we implement changes.”

The Coast Guard plane, based at Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, Calif., was conducting a search and rescue mission and the Marine helicopter, based at Camp Pendleton, was involved in training when the two aircraft collided.  Both aircraft were operating in a training area monitored by a Navy air traffic control center in San Diego.

The Coast Guard report is available at: http://www.uscg.mil/foia/reading-room.asp

To obtain a copy of the Marine investigation submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) form to the Joint Law Center at Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar. A copy of the FOIA form is available on the web at: http://www.miramar.usmc.mil/jlc/AAWebsite/Civil%20Law%20Website/Links/FOIA%20Request%20Form.doc

The Navy report is available at: http://www.cpf.navy.mil/foia_rr.shtml

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