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NY Army National Guard releases cause of January chopper crash in Mendon

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From left: Steven Skoda, Christian Koch and Daniel Prial.

Officials say it was a procedural error during an emergency training maneuver that brought down a New York National Guard helicopter in Mendon last January, killing the three soldiers aboard.

Colonel Richard Goldenberg, Public Affairs Officer for the Guard held a media briefing on Thursday.

``Army Aviation standards require crew members to practice and undergo emergency procedure training throughout the course of their careers. The procedures and actions taken by the crew during the course of rehearsing an emergency procedure are what led to the cause of the aircraft's crash." 

Steven Skoda and Daniel Prial, both of Rochester, and Christian Koch, all Chief Warrant Officers, died in the crash.

Collectively they had more than 50 years of flight experience.

He told reporters that it's very important to practice, prepare and rehearse procedures during an emergency, and an error during training brought the aircraft down.

``The biggest lessons for the aviation community, not just across the New York Army National Guard, but across all of Army Aviation, is this modification to the procedures for the training that now limits this procedural training to occur in a simulator only," Goldenberg said.

Alex Crichton is host of All Things Considered on WXXI-AM 1370. Alex delivers local news, weather and traffic reports beginning at 4 p.m. each weekday.