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National Guard helicopter crash kills 3 in New York farmer’s field

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Mendon, New York — Three National Guard members on a training flight were killed Wednesday when their helicopter crashed in a farmer’s field in western New York.

The craft, a UH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopter, crashed around 6:30 p.m. in Mendon, a rural town south of Rochester, officials said.

The circumstances were under investigation. The Federal Aviation Administration said it would take part.

Photos of the crash scene posted by local news media showed the aircraft wreckage burning on a snow-covered field.

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Wreckage of National Guard helicopter burns in snowy farmer’s field in Mendon, New York, outside Rochester, after crashing on night of  January 20, 2021.

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The helicopter flew out of the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport and was assigned to C Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion, according to Eric Durr, public affairs director of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said flags on state buildings would be lowered to half-staff on Thursday to pay tribute to the troops.

“National Guard members are our citizen soldiers who voluntarily serve and protect both here and abroad, and I extend prayers and condolences from all New Yorkers to the family, loved ones and fellow soldiers of these honorable heroes,” he said in a statement.

Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter told a news conference that witnesses who called 911 reported hearing the sounds of an engine sputtering and said the aircraft was flying very low.

There were no survivors, he said.

Baxter called the three guard members who perished “great Americans.”

“Keep them in your minds and your prayers,” he said.

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