FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Air Force Maj. Elena O’Bryan
Air Force Capt. Darin Overstreet
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (6/15/10) – At approximately 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 14, the tail rotor of a Colorado Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook struck terrain while supporting the Alamosa County Sheriff’s office during a search and rescue mission of a hiker.
The Colorado Army National Guard was called since the 14,000-foot elevation of the hiker exceeded the capabilities of the civilian aircraft that had been supporting the mission.
The seven-person COARNG crew had been performing its two-week annual training on Fort Carson, Colo., when called to support the rescue mission on Little Bear Peak in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado.
After arriving at the site of the fallen hiker, while attempting to position the aircraft in a suitable landing zone at a lower elevation, the tail rotor of the aircraft struck the terrain, forcing a precautionary landing.
The experienced was able to avoid injury and safely land the aircraft in a small field at approximately 12,000 feet. The aircraft is upright and the only damage appears to be to the tail rotor.
After landing, the three civilian emergency responders made their way to the hiker, but he had already expired.
An investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the strike.
The aircrew has been evacuated to Fort Carson by Black Hawk helicopter and a security team is remaining with the aircraft.
The crew, from the Colorado Army National Guard, is based out of Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo.
The Colorado Army National Guard is trained to manage power at maximum gross weight over the Rockies and supports approximately 20 search and rescue missions annually, saving the lives of numerous back-country hikers and skiers.
For more than 150 years the Colorado National Guard has served communities across Colorado while defending our nation. The Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen of the Colorado National Guard are always ready, always there.
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