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Report on UK crash that killed Rolling Prairie native released

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The military helicopter crash that killed Rolling Prairie native Technical Sergeant Dale Mathews was caused by bird strikes that rendered the pilot and copilot unconscious, according to a report issued by the United States Air Force Aircraft Accident Investigation Board.


Four US Airmen were killed in the crash at Cley next the Sea, Norfolk, United Kingdom on January 7, 2014.


The HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crashed at the north end of East Bank on the Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes Nature Reserve at around 7 p.m. January 7, 2014.


The four Airmen aboard the helicopter were identified as Technical Sergeant Dale Mathews of Indiana, Captain S. Stover, Captain Sean M. Ruane, and Staff Sergeant Afton M. Ponce.


The men were part of the 48th Fighter Wing stationed at the Royal Air Force base in Lakenheath England.


The report states a flock of geese took flight and struck the helicopter. Three geese broke through the windshield, knocking the pilot and co-pilot unconscious.


At least one goose struck the aerial gunner, knocking him unconscious.


The geese also struck the Trim and Flight Path Stabilization systems.


The damage to the aircraft as well as the fact the pilot and co-pilot were unconscious, the helicopter couldn't stay in the air.


It impacted the ground three seconds after being struck by the geese.

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