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Investigation fails to determine cause of fatal UH-60 crash in Germany

By MARK PATTON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 3, 2010

WIESBADEN, Germany — An Army investigation into the February crash of a Black Hawk helicopter near Mannheim was unable to determine the cause of the accident that killed three U.S. soldiers.

“There was insufficient evidence to indicate that mechanical malfunction, environmental factors, pilot error or a combination of these factors contributed to the accident,” according to a U.S. Army Europe news release issued Monday evening.

The crash occurred Feb. 3.

The crew of the ill-fated UH-60 flight was conducting routine pilot proficiency training from Stuttgart Army Airfield to Coleman Army Airfield in Mannheim. USAREUR officials say during the approach to Coleman, the aircraft began a rapid descent and made contact with the trees.

At the time of the crash, it was raining heavily and visibility below the clouds was about one mile, according to a German weather service spokesman.

According to USAREUR spokeswoman Hilde Patton, families of the victims were informed of the investigation results over the past few weeks. USAREUR officials did not release the full investigation, called a 15-6, on Tuesday.

Killed in the crash were Warrant Officer 3 Gary M. Farwell, 39; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Clayton M. Hickman, 32; and Cpl. Matthew E. Clark, 25. All three were assigned to the Stuttgart-based Company G, 52nd Regiment, 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade.

pattonm@estripes.osd.mil