A Marine helicopter crash that killed a crew chief and injured five others at Camp Pendleton last summer was caused by debris likely hitting its tail rotor, along with a design flaw and pilot error, according to a Marine investigation.
The crew was practicing a landing on July 6 when the helicopter swerved to the right, began to spin and crashed on its side. The instructor crew chief, Sgt. Trevor Cook, was pinned under a door. The 25 year old from Lyndonville, N.Y., died at the scene.
A fire erupted and the other crew members escaped. The $20 million aircraft was declared a total loss.
According to a report by U-T San Diego, debris such as a stray bolt probably hit the tail rotor, causing structural failure and destroying the helicopter's drive train. The pilot of the hovering UH-1Y Huey aggravated the problem by trying to push the chopper forward instead of reducing the throttle, the report said.
The report noted that in an unofficial study after the crash using a simulator, only two of 30 pilots responded correctly and 23 of them would have crashed.