By MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Three soldiers are dead after a military helicopter crashed in upstate New York Wednesday evening, the New York National Guard said.
The UH-60 medical evacuation helicopter, based at the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport, crashed in Mendon, New York, while on a routine training mission, according to the National Guard.
The helicopter went down at 6:32 p.m. in an open field, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said. According to 911 calls, the aircraft was flying very low and there were reports of engine sputtering, authorities said during a press briefing Wednesday night.
Multiple fire departments responded to the crash, as well as state police and representatives of the U.S. military, the sheriff’s office said. The aircraft was engulfed in flames when first responders arrived, authorities said.
The debris field from the crash is the size of a few city blocks, authorities said. The road near the crash site remained closed.
The sheriff’s office did not state a cause for the crash.
The aircraft was assigned to C Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion, according to the New York National Guard.
Flags on all state buildings will be lowered to half-staff on Thursday in honor of the soldiers, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
“National Guard members are our citizen soldiers who voluntarily serve and protect both here and aboard, and I extend prayers and condolences from all New Yorkers to the family, loved ones and fellow soldiers of these honorable heroes who we will never forget,” Cuomo said in a statement.
The New York National Guard and Federal Aviation Administration are conducting an investigation.
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