Report: Emergency procedures not followed in crash

Officials examine a helicopter after it crashed on the campus of Texas A&M University on Monday afternoon, Jan. 12, 2009 in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Wade Barker)

December 15, 2009 2:17:11 PM PST
An investigative board has found that the crew of an Army Blackhawk helicopter that crashed at Texas A&M did not follow correct emergency procedures. Two crewmembers died and three were injured in the Jan. 12 crash during a training exercise.

A Texas Air National Guard investigative report issued in July was obtained by KBTX-TV under an open records request. The report says the aircraft went into a spin after a control pedal became obstructed by a boot, but that did not cause the crash. The review found the stuck control pedal caused a tail-rotor malfunction, and "the crew did not fully realize the situation the aircraft was in and did not execute the proper emergency procedure."

The pilot lowered the overall rotor pitch, as taught for responding to a clockwise spin. However, the helicopter was in a counterclockwise spin, and the measure made the spin faster and caused the aircraft to plummet into the ground.

The crew chief, 42-year-old Sgt. Charles C. Mitts of Spring, and 22-year-old 2nd Lt. Zachary Cook died of injuries suffered when the helicopter crashed near the Corps of Cadets field on the A&M campus about 100 miles northwest of Houston.