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Helicopter crash in Mendon leaves three soldiers dead

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Officials with the New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs confirms that three soldiers are dead after a New York Army National Guard UH-60 medical evacuation helicopter crashed early Wednesday evening in the Town of Mendon. It happened during a routine training mission.

The Blackhawk helicopter was assigned to C Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion, based at the Army Aviation Support Facility at Greater Rochester International Airport. The identities of the three National Guard soldiers have not been released yet.

The incident is under investigation. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department says the chopper went down in a field on West Bloomfield Road in Mendon just after 6:30 p.m.

Sheriff Todd Baxter says that his office received multiple 911 calls about an aircraft in distress.

“There were calls of a sputtering sound of an engine and that the aircraft was flying very low, more low than normal. And shortly thereafter reports of a crash, sounding of a crash and of course, other reports that came in for the crash.," Baxter said.

Baxter added that that the aftermath of the crash is an emotional time.



“This is a burden, this is a heavy, heavy burden upon all of us," Baxter said. "These are our freedom providers and just showing again that freedom is not free, we lost three great Americans today in the service of our country."

Governor Andrew Cuomo directed that flags on all state buildings be lowered to half-staff on Thursday.

"I am devastated by the news tonight of a New York Army National Guard helicopter crash in the Town of Mendon that killed three of New York's bravest during a training mission," Cuomo said, in a statement Wednesday evening. "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 who we will never forget. "

Randy Gorbman is the news director at WXXI News, a media partner of CITY. He can be reached at rgorbman@wxxi.org.

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