Navy Helicopter Crash Kills 3 in Texas Jan 17th, 2008 | CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- A Navy helicopter on a training mission went down in a fiery crash near an 971-foot-tall antenna tower, killing three crew members and critically injuring a fourth, a Navy spokesman said Thursday.
Investigators were examining the wreckage Thursday, including a large piece that could be seen at the base of the tower. Authorities would not say whether the helicopter, an MH-53 Sea Dragon, hit the tower in the crash Wednesday night.
A radio station reported its sister television station was knocked off the air because of damage to the tower.
Don Dunlap, president and general manager of South Texas Public Broadcasting, arrived shortly after the crash and told KEDT radio that he saw parts of the antenna his station owns on the ground, and that the beacon on top had been knocked off.
"It was a horrific scene out there," Dunlap told the station. "Pieces of that helicopter were everywhere."
Johnny Rivera, 73, who lives about a mile from the crash site, jumped up when he heard the impact.
"Boom! We heard it," said Rivera, an ex-helicopter mechanic at the Army depot on Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. "There was a whole lot of fire."
The injured crew member was taken to a hospital, where he was in critical condition, said Ed Mickey, a spokesman for the Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command.
The helicopter was part of Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 out of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Mickey said. It went down Wednesday night in a farmer's field about 4 miles south of Corpus Christi, he said.
JD. Batten, who lives about two miles from the crash site, told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times he was walking near his property's front gate when he heard a helicopter overhead.
"Suddenly I saw a red-glowing fireball shoot hundreds of feet up into the air," he said. "I heard a giant boom a second later. It was then dead silent and I couldn't hear the helicopter anymore."
Lt. Sean Robertson, a spokesman for NAS Corpus Christi, told the Caller-Times the crash happened during heavy fog. The newspaper said downed power lines hindered the efforts of the first rescuers.
The crash caused a fire, but firefighters extinguished the flames.
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2004 Helicopter Tower Crash in Waco, Texas - Lawsuit Filed
Texas Trial Lawyer, David P. Willis of the Willis Law Firm along with Attorney, Nelson J. Roach of the Nix Patterson & Roach representing three families have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the television tower owners as a result no lights on the TV transmission tower resulting in seven deaths, when the military helicopter hit one of the cables early one foggy morning and crashed in November 2005 outside Waco, Texas.
To contact attorney David Willis, call toll free (800)883-9858
Helicopter Crash Lawsuit Update
WACO, Texas -- Relatives of three soldiers killed in an Army helicopter crash sued the owners and operators of a television tower, claiming broken warning lights on the tower created a hazard.
Seven soldiers from Fort Hood died in November 2004 when their helicopter plummeted to the ground on a foggy morning after apparently striking cables supporting a TV transmission tower near Waco, Texas The tower's warning lights were knocked out in a storm the week before and were not operating and were in need of repair.The helicopter crash lawsuit alleged that failure to adequately and promptly maintain the lights created "a dangerous hazard to nearby aircraft, including the helicopter in which plaintiffs were passengers," it said.
Those named in the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in state district court in McLennan County, include Centex Television Limited Partnership, which owns KXXV-TV in Waco.A television station official declined to comment. Representatives who answered the phone at Centex said the company had no comment.Army investigators said last year that the fatal crash was caused by the pilots' attempt to fly under visual flight rules in poor weather conditions.
The lawsuit was filed by family members of Chief Warrant Officer 2 David H. Gardner Jr., 32, of Mason City, Iowa, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mark W. Evans Jr., 27, of Jacksonville, Fla., who were the Black Hawk's pilots; and Capt. Todd T. Christmas, 26, of Wagon Mound, N.M.. Others killed include Chief Warrant Officer Doug Clapp, Colonel James Moore, and Brigadier General Charles B. Allen.
Helicopter Crash Lawsuit Assistance
For more information about the lawsuit that was filed on September 8, 2006 in Waco, Texas call attorney David Willis at 1-800-883-9858