USN possible crash 1990 preserved NAS North Island, California
w/o 07jan90. Not a possible crash...a crash, we were flying for HSL-45 Det 10 on USS Lake Champlain (CG-57) attached to the New Jersey Battle Group.
Earlier in the day we left Pattaya Beach, Thailand enroute to Cubic Bay Philipines. We were 35 miles off the coast of Cape Ca Mau doing a back in the saddle and night deck landings when we lost tail rotor drive. We had 25 foot seas when we hit the water. All three crewmembers survived to fly another day. I broke my back in the incident and have 6 inch titanium rods in my back to remind me of it. As well as the right door window Emergency Release Handle.
The reason they were able to recover the aircraft was at the time the ship had to make a direction change to a 100 foot deep reef. You guessed it, we crashed on top of that reef. It took 10 days to recover the helo due to bad weather. The USS Tuscaloosa (LST-1187) and the USNS Sioux (T-ATF-171, fleet ocean tug) were sent from Cubic to do the recovery. Originally the aircraft settled upside down in the sand, however, due to the weather, one of the ships anchors was dragging and caught the plane and flipped it rightside up. Navy divers took photos of the aircraft over several days. They even found my copilots glasses and returned them to him. 10 days later the aircraft pulled into port at Cubic. Our deployment came to an end on 15Mar90 and about Jun90 the aircraft arrived at Nas North Island on board a C-5 Galaxy.
On display at NAS North Island until repl by 165112