ALAMOSA, Colo. (6/30/10) – After days of hard work, members of the 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation, completed their mission of cleaning up the site where a Colorado Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook was forced to make a hard landing.
Army Sgt. Guy Morgan, a CH-47 standards instructor, said the unit had been preparing the Chinook for recovery for several days, as well as cleaning up the area where the incident took place.
The hard landing happened June 15, while a Colorado Army National Guard crew from Buckley Air Force Base tried to rescue an 18-year-old hiker who had fallen on Little Bear Peak in southern Colorado.
At approximately 6:30 a.m. on June 29, a second Chinook arrived at the landing site to do the final lift of the fuselage of the first helicopter. After landing, the crew attached harnesses and straps to the stripped-down Chinook, then connected the two helicopters via specialized remote cabling. The airborne Chinook lifted the 8,500 pound load and successfully carried it to a base camp located just outside of the mountain.
The entire process took less than 15 minutes.
The rest of the day was spent cleaning the area of the incident site. Multiple tiny pieces of wood, metal and fiberglass could be found all over the area from broken rotor blades.
After hours of scouring the mountain for litter, a team of two officers came to test the soil and water for oil and other contaminants possibly left behind by the downed Chinook.
“The reason why we’re cleaning up is because it’s beautiful out here. We want to leave it just the way we found it, or as close as we can,” said Morgan.
It’s important to clean up anything left behind because most mountain terrains are very sensitive environments, said Army Lt. Col. Mark Hague, environmental branch chief.