AD1 JEFFREY S. PASCHAL USN
1960 - 10 AUGUST,
|LT Edward R. Fassnacht USN, 31
LT Shawn O. Jacobs USN, 30
AD1 Jeffrey S. Paschal USN, 40
AD2 David E. Rutherford USN, 27
|AD3 Jeremy J. Yakin USN, 19
ADAN Shawn R. Palyo USN, 20
MH-53E "Sea Dragon"
Corpus Christi Caller-Times Friday, August
Two die in Navy copter crash
By Dan Parker and Deborah Martinez, Caller-Times
Two crew members were killed, two were rescued and
two others were missing Thursday after a Navy mine countermeasures helicopter
crashed about three miles off Malaquite Beach on Padre Island National
The MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter crashed about 11
a.m., shortly after someone onboard radioed that the aircraft had undergone
a mechanical malfunction, said Cmdr. Bob Riehl, commanding officer of Helicopter
Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 at Naval Air Station Corpus
The two surviving crew members - Petty Officer 3rd
Class Jeremy J. Yaklin, 19, of LaPeer, Mich., and Airman Shawn R. Palyo,
20, of Stratford, Conn. - were in stable condition Thursday night at Christus
Spohn Hospital Memorial. They were found floating with the aid of a inflatable
life preservers. A Coast Guard helicopter rescued one, while a Navy helicopter
rescued the other.
Yaklin suffered compound fractures and had some
bleeding, Riehl said. Palyo's injuries were less serious, he
One of the crew members killed was identified as
Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey S. Paschal, a 40-year-old aviation machinist
mate from Phoenix. Navy and Coast Guard officials would not release the names
of the other crew members involved because their families had not yet been
notified. The crew is assigned to HM-15, a mine countermeasures squadron
based at NAS Corpus Christi.
The bodies of those who died were recovered from
the water near where the helicopter went down. The search for the remaining
crew was continuing. "I can tell you, from our perspective, this is a difficult
situation for everybody," Riehl said. "I have a lot of people in the squadron.
They all have friends that are pilots and air crewmen, and... it's a very
hard thing for us to deal with. But we're dealing with it
"Such a sad, sad thing"
Yaklin's mother, Jeanette Yaklin, was dealing with a jumble of emotions as
her family made plans to fly to Corpus Christi. "It's such a sad, sad thing
to thatnk that something like this could happen," she said. Tim and Jeanette
Yaklin said they received the news about their only son's accident from their
daughter-in-law, Beth, who was at her husband's bedside all day, Jeanette
Yaklin said. Yaklin, who marked his second month of marriage Thursday, has
been in the Navy for two years, his mother said. "He's very serious about
what he does," she said. "He loves his job, he tells us. He always wanted
to fly. He'll be just fine."
"Able to radio In"
The helicopter departed NAS Corpus Christi Thursday morning and had been
on its mission for about 30 minutes when the crew radioed that there was
a problem. The helicopter, which can use its sonar equipment out the rear
of the aircraft, hadn't begun its operation the trouble was reported, Riehl
said. "The helicopter was able to radio in and let the squadron know they
were having some type of mechanical malfunction," said LTjg Chuck Bell, Mine
Warfare Command public affairs officer. 'Don't know what that mechanical
malfunction is. Way too early in the game to figure that out."
"Found the aircraft wreckage"
Crew members indicated they would attempt a precautionary landing on
Padre Island, but that was the last radio transmission that was heard, Riehl
said. Another Navy helicopter training in the area flew toward the beach
where the landing was expected. "The other aircraft . . . was enroute to
follow the mishap aircraft to the beach to render any assistance he could,
" Riehl said. "Reports are that, enroute to the beach, the second aircraft
identified the mishap aircraft in the water and radioed back to our base
that he found the aircraft wreckage."
Altitude not unusual
The wreckage was found no more than 15 minutes after the last radio transmission,
he said. Reports indicated the helicopter was about 100 feet above the water
when it started heading for the beach, Riehl said. The altitude was not unusual
- helicopters involved in the training typically fly less than 300 feet above
the ground, he said.
Navy and Coast Guard rescue crews searched calm
seas with at least two helicopters, one jet and several boats, including
the USS Gladiator, a mine countermeasures ship that was in the area when
the helicopter went down.
Search will continue
Coast Guard Operations Officer David McBride said the helicopter sank
in water about 30 feet deep. McBride said the search would go on all night.
Today the search will continue with aircraft, possibly one more Navy ship
and an 87-foot Coast Guard vessel that traveled to the area from Padre Island,
The search area is contained to about a 4-mile-by-7-mile area, but the currents
are sending debris toward the beach, McBride said.
"I always have hope"
Coast Guard officials said most of the helicopter
sank, but Riehl said the aircraft eventually will be raised from the gulf
bottom and brought back to NAS Corpus Christi to help investigators determine
the cause of the crash. For now all efforts are concentrated on finding the
rest of the crew.
"I always have hope as long as we've got the Coast
Guard and our aircraft and the ships from Ingleside are involved in the search
effort," Reihl said. "It's a big area. It's a big ocean. There's always hope
that individuals will turn up."
"This was pretty rare"
MH-53E helicopters are routinely used in mine countermeasures training in
the Gulf of Mexico. Riehl said the helicopter has a good safety record. "It's
got three engines, four hydraulic systems, a lot of redundancy to preclude
things like this from happening," Riehl said. "It is not very often we find
ourselves in a position of having to do a precautionary emergency landing,
so this was pretty rare, actually."
The MH-53E is manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft
Corp. of Stratford, Conn. It has a seven-blade main rotor and is designed
for both land and ship-based operations. It is 99 fet long/
"There's inherent risk"
In addition to mine countermeasures, the MH-53E can be used to tow vessels,
transport cargo and transport equipment. The helicopter can be outfitted
to carry up to 55 passengers, but the helicopter that crashed was equipped
to carry a maximum crew of eight.
The helicopter's maximum gross weight is 69,750
pounds, and the empty weight is about 36,745 pounds. It can tow as much as
25,000 pounds. "There's inherent risk in operating military aircraft and
conducting military missions," Riehl said. "I don't want to say it comes
with the job, but it's something that's happened in the past, and it's happened
to us today," Riehl said. "And we will do everything we can to find out exactly
the cause of the mishap was and what we can do to preclude this from ever
"Everybody is out there doing what they love," Riehl
said. "Some may have paid the ulrimate price."
Corpus Christi Caller-Times web site Friday, August 11, 2000 01:00
Two missing in Navy helicopter crash identified
U.S. Navy officials Friday morning identified two
crewmen killed in a crash of a MH-53E helicopter, as they continue to look
for two others who are missing and prepare to salvage the wreckage from the
floor of the Gulf of Mexico.
The missing have been identified as Lt. Edward R.
Fassnacht, 31, of Akron, Ohio, the co-pilot; and David E. Rutherford, 27,
of Mason Town, PA., who is an Aviation Machinist Mate Second
The Navy identified the dead men as the pilot, Shawn
O. Jacobs, 30, of Jefferson City, MO., and Jeffrey S. Paschal, 40, of Phoenix,
AZ. Yaklin is an Aviation Machinist Mate Third Class; Palyo, Aviation Machinist
Mate Airman; Paschal, Aviation Machinist Mate First Class.
Jeremy J. Yaklin, 19, of Lapeer, Michigan and ADAN
Shawn R. Palyp, 20, of Stratford, Connecticutt were hospitalized in stable
condition Friday in Corpus Christi, Authorities said. The search by air and
sea for two other missing crewmen continued throughout Thursday night and
Admiral Jose L. Betancourt and Commander Riehl visited
the two injured in the hospital and said that Palyo suffered lacerations
and is expected to be released from the intensive care unit today. Yaklin
suffered an injured leg and a possible fractured pelvis and is still in
No memorial services have been planned yet, Navy
officials said, and none is expected until the two missing men have been
found. The MH-53E helicopter, also known as a Sea Dragon, crashed in 50 feet
of water Thursday morning during a training mission. Early Friday, salvage
crews hauled debris away from the waterline, where a helicopter blade, human
remains and chunks of insulation washed ashore.
The Navy and Coast Guard are combing a
2-and-a-half-by-2-and-a-half-mile area, and that they have located four
yet-unidentified items on the Gulf's floor. On Friday morning, searchers
found an 18-by-4-foot item, which they believe may be part of the helicopter,
said Navy Commander Barry Coceano.
Six divers searched in about 51 to 60 feet of water
on Friday in silty water that only provided about 4 feet of visability, officials
said. The helicopter was practicing minesweeping about 17 miles offshore
as part of a training mission when it reported a mechanical malfunction,
Navy officials said. It was attempting to return to shore when it
Another helicopter taking part in the training mission
spotted wreckage about 15 minutes after the distress call. The survivors
floating in life jackets were rescued more than 30 minutes later. Training
flights will resume on Monday doing what we were doing just a couple of days
ago, Riehl said.
The MH-53E is manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft
in Stratford, Conn. In 1996, a similar model, the CH-53E Super Stallion,
crashed killing four Sikorsky employees in Stratford. The Navy temporarily
halted flights of all "E" models, including the Super Stallion and the Sea
Dragon. A faulty bearing was blamed for the 1996 crash.
In addition to mine countermeasures, the MH-53E
can be used to tow vessels, transport cargo and transport equipment. The
helicopter can carry 55 passengers, or a 16-ton payload. In 1991, six members
of the same squadron were killed in the Persian Gulf when their Sea Dragon
helicopter crashed after taking off from a ship north of Bahrain.
Corpus Christi Caller-Times Friday, August
MH-53Es have a long history of problems
By Kathryn A. Wolfe, Caller-Times
The Super Stallion family of helicopters, which
includes the MH-53E Sea Dragon that crashed Thursday morning, has had a history
of deadly crashes despite its manufacture's assertions that it is
Bill Tuttle, a spokeman for Sikorsky Aircraft, which
makes the helicopters, said the Sea Dragon has performed its military mission
well and called it a "very safe helicopter." But the MH-53, one of
the Western world's largest helicopters, has a history of lethal mechanical
failures and has been grounded at least once since it began service in the
early 1980s. It is also one of a number of military aircraft that critics
have denounced as part of a aging fleet, with design origins that date back
to the 1960s.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dawn Cutler said Thursday's crash
represents the first MH-53 accident this year. The exact number of drew
fatalities in accidents involving the helicopter was unavailable Thursday,
but at least 30 have been killed, including those on Thursday, and 15 wounded
since 1984, according to news reports.
In June of 1996, the U.S. Navy grounded 200 of it's
H-53 Super Stallion and MH-53 Sea Dragon helicopters after a crash killed
a crew of four at Sikorsky's testing facility in Connecticut. Sikorsky
recommended the aircraft be grounded following the crash so inspectors could
examine the parts that connect the rotor blades to the body of the
The CH-53 Super Stallion, a helicopter similar to
the Sea Dragon, was grounded twice - once in 1984 following a crash in North
Carolina that killed six Marines and again in 1987 after five Marines died
in a crash in California, United Press International reported. After the
Super Stallions were grounded, the Secretary of the Navy ordered flight
restrictions to be placed on the CH-53 because of design deficiencies found
during an investigation of the aircraft, UPI reported.
In June 1999 an Air Force MH-53J special operations
helicopter crashed in North Carolina, killing one and injuring five crew
members as it tried to land. An investigation concluded that clouds of dust
inhibited visibility, and pilot error caused the crash.
In March 1996, three passengers were injured when
a MH-53 on a orientation flight crashed while attempting to land in
In August 1995, a MH-53 collided with a private
plane in Virginia, sending the small plane plummeting into Chesapeake Bay
and killing the pilot. The helicopter was seriously damaged but landed safely,
In June 1995, a Japanese MH-53E on a training flight
caught fire and crashed off Japan's coast. All eight crew members were missing
and presumed dead.
In September 1991, six members of Helicopter Mine
Countermeasures Squadron 15 died when their MH-53E plunged into waters off
the Persian Gulf.
In July of 1988, eight crew members of Helicopter
Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 on a routine mine-training flight much like
the one being flown Thursday were presumed dead after their MH-53E helicopter
crashed in thick fog, sinking off the coast of California. Rescuers found
bits of flight gear and seven helmets bobbing in the water, UPI
In 1987 one soldier was killed and seven others
seriously injured in North Carolina when a MH-53's sudden altitude change
threw them from the aircraft, UPI reported.
Corpus Christi Caller-Times Saturday, August
Four Navy crew killed in copter crash
An MH-53E, assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures
Squadron 15 (HM-15). crashed in 50 feet of water the morning of August 10,
2000 during a training mission killing four of its six crewmen.
The dead men have been identified as LT Edward R.
Fassnacht, 31, of Akron, Ohio, the co-pilot; LT Shawn O. Jacobs, 30, pilot,
of Jefferson City, Missouri; Aviation Machinist Mate Second Class
David E. Rutherford, 27, of Mason Town, Pennsylvania, and Aviation
Machinist Mate First Class Jeffrey S. Paschal, 40, of Phoenix,
As of August 11, the survivors Aviation Machinist
Mate Third Class Jermey J. Yaklin, 19, of Lapeer, Michigan; and Aviation
Machinist Mate Airman Shawn R. Paylo, 20, of Stratford, Connecticut, were
hospitalized in stable condition in Corpus Christi, authorities
The helicopter departed from NAS Corpus Christi
and had been on its mission for about 30 minutes when the crew radioed that
there was a problem. Crew members indicated they would attempt a precautionary
landing on Padre Island, but that was the last radio transmission that was
hears, said Navy Ltjg Chuck Bell, Mine Warefare Command public Affairs
CNN.COM Posted at 10:06 p.m. EDT (0206 GMT)
August 28, 2000
Pentagon may extend flight ban on "heavy-lift"
WASHINGTON - Pentagon officials said Monday that
165 marine CH-53E "Super Stallions" and 47 Navy "Sea Dragon" helicopter grounded
last week may face an extended flight ban because of fear that the aircraft
may have a serious mechanical defect.
The workhorse MH- and CH-53s are the U.S. Military's
only "heavy lift" helicopters.
Pentagon sources said wreckage recovered from the
August 10 crash of a Navy MH-53E in the Gulf of Mexico indicates it may have
suffered a mechanical problem the Navy had thought had been corrected after
a crash in 1996.
Four of six crew members were killed in the August
10 crash, when the Navy minesweeping helicopter went down off the coast of
Corpus Christi, Texas, after reporting mechanical problems. Pentagon sources
said a preliminary investigation found that a key part known as a "duplex
swashplate bearing" might have failed on the main rotor.
A similar finding led to the grounding of 200
helicopters in 1996 after the crash of a Marine Corps MH-53E in May of that
year at the Connecticut factory of the helicopter's manufacturer, Sikorsky
Aircraft Corporation. Four crewmen were killed in that accident.
On June 2, 1999, an Air Force MH-53J, which is similar
to the Navy aircraft, crashed during training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina,
killing one crew member. The Air Force says none of its MH-53J "Pavelow"
helicopters have been grounded because that is a different model.
I hear the sound of death's call
of sailor's brave and tall,
No men of fame were they
No men of great names were they
But men they were - just men
who knew and did their duty.
Asking nothing - giving all
till the day of their call and fall to death.
But as their souls ascend on high
and as the angels carry them by
I can hear the bugle blow the sound of taps
and the call to the unknown
both beautiful, melancholy and
haunting is the sound of taps
For it's the final fire of a
on 16 February, 2001© Airborne Mine Countermeasures Association, Virginia
Beach, Virginia Webmaster - Barry Marple, Virginia Beach, Virginia.
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