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9 Missing After Military Plane, Helicopter Collide Off Calif. Coast - 2nd collision in a week

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posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 09:03 AM
A very odd mid air collision is being reported on ABC News.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy were searching early Friday for as many as nine people off the Southern California coast following a collision between a Coast Guard plane and a Marine Corps helicopter, officials said.

The crash was reported at 7:10 p.m. Thursday, about 50 miles off the San Diego County coast and 15 miles east of San Clemente Island, Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Allyson Conroy said.

A pilot reported seeing a fireball near where the aircraft collided, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said, and the Coast Guard informed the FAA that debris from a C-130 had been spotted. Seven people were on board the plane, a C-130, and two people were aboard the helicopter, he said.

Cpl Michael Stevens, a spokesman for the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, said the AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter was on a training mission when it went down. The Cobra and its crew are part of Marine Aircraft Group 39, based at Camp Pendleton, and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, which is headquartered at Miramar, Stevens said.

Firstly my sympathies for the loss of life and to the relatives of the servicemen killed.

But it has to be said that this is the second mid-air collision in a week involving the US military.

Three US helicopters collide in Afghanistan

Rescue operations are under way across Afghanistan, after three helicopters crashed in a series of pre-dawn sorties, leaving at least four US troops dead and two others seriously injured.

Two helicopters collided in mid-air, in the South of the country, while a third went down under heavy fire in the West, moments after extracting soldiers from a daring night raid against one of the region’s most wanted drug-smugglers.

US officials said that hostile fire was not involved in the mid-air collision, but they are still investigating the cause of the second crash.

I just find it odd.

There have been a few accidents this year:

2009 U.S. Army Aviation Accidents Costly

So far, 2009 is shaping up to be a costlier year for U.S. Army aviation accidents and incidents, according to an Aerospace DAILY analysis of data provided by the Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center (USACRC).

The average cost per accident or incident for this calendar year was about $220,178 as of July 28, the last date for which data were provided, compared to about $176,638 for all of 2008, the analysis shows.

“As the Army aviation fleet continues to transform to a more high-tech and lethal force, and [given] the inflationary growth in the cost of these aircraft and the resulting costs associated with mishaps, the cost of operating and fixing Army aircraft has increased,” said Lt. Col. David Fleckenstein, director of USACRC’s Air Task Force.

The maximum single-event cost for that time period was about $26.5 million. The average cost per an accident or incident for the more than 30,000 aviation mishaps over the past three decades was about $539,000, the analysis shows, with a maximum single-event cost of about $62.4 million.

I suppose if you are going to be fighting two wars openly, not to mention others covertly, plus all the training and logistical flights that those wars require, accidents like these will become more common.

But this is crazy:

Thus far for fiscal year 2009, the total costs of the accidents and incidents in all countries totaled about $87.1 million, compared to $136.5 million for all of fiscal 2008, the analysis shows. The total over the past three decades has been about $16.4 billion.

holy Crap, $16.4 billion!!!!

Other reports from the BBC.

[edit on 30-10-2009 by kiwifoot]

posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 10:03 AM
Why in the heck do our planes/helicopters keep colliding? I don't get it either. Is it a training issue? Are they clowning around up there? Doesn't the military have air traffic controllers? Very strange.

S&F by the way....

posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 10:36 AM
Not all airspaces that the military uses are controlled by ATC. Most are uncontrolled, so see and avoid must be used. You need to keep an active scan to avoid other aircraft. We can guess all day as to what happened, but we won't know until the offical investigation comes out.

posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 10:54 AM

Originally posted by Signals
Why in the heck do our planes/helicopters keep colliding? I don't get it either. Is it a training issue? Are they clowning around up there? Doesn't the military have air traffic controllers? Very strange.

It's just the occurrence of this so soon after the other one that caught my eye, you'd think that with all of today's technology, aircraft would have anti-collision radar or something, I'll wait for some ATS aviators to tell me if they do or not!

posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 01:58 PM
Some details from ABC

The search continued for nine military personnel missing after a mid-air collision of two aircraft off the southern California coast Thursday night. So far, rescuers have not found any survivors or remains.

Officials say a Coast Guard C-130 transport plane, which carried seven passengers, had been on a search and rescue mission for a small boat reported missing since Wednesday. The U.S. Marine Super Cobra AH-1W helicopter, manned by two aviators, was conducting a training exercise out of Camp Pendleton.

Shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday night, an eyewitness reported seeing two large explosions and a large fireball 50 miles off the San Diego coast and 15 miles east of San Clemente Island.


ABC News has been told the mid-air collision could have been much worse. Marine spokesman Major Jay Delarosa said the helicopter involved in the collision was flying in formation with three other helicopters at the time of the collision -- one other AH1-W and two CH-53s. The Cobras were flying escort for the CH-53s.

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