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Guard: Red Wing airport helicopter crash under investigation

A Blackhawk helicopter, like those shown here, sustained damage after crashing Dec. 13 at Red Wing Regional Airport in Bay City. Three soldiers on board were uninjured, according to the Guard. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota National Guard

A Minnesota National Guard helicopter was damaged this month while landing at Red Wing Regional Airport in Bay City.

According to a Guard spokeswoman, the incident occurred the evening of Dec. 13 while a three-person crew was returning from a training exercise. The UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter “experienced technical difficulties” while attempting to land Guard Capt. Holly Rockow said.

No one was injured in the crash. Rockow said the aircraft "was operating in accordance with all safety standards" at the time of the incident.

The helicopter was grounded until Dec. 18; Pierce County Sheriff’s Office deputies patrolled the hangar where it was kept as part of the Guard’s accident protocol.

The helicopter was flown back to the Guard’s Holman Field facility in St. Paul after repairs and a safety assessment. The aircraft was expected to be mission-ready as of last week after additional maintenance.

The Guard is investigating the cause of the crash. Rockow said the crew had been “conducting a night vision goggle evaluation flight” prior to the incident.

“In assessing this incident, the most important thing to the Minnesota National Guard is that there were no injuries to our soldiers and that the damage is only limited to equipment, which can be repaired,” Rockow said.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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