UH-1F Eglin AFB 1966   UH-1F DMAFB, AZ 1967   UH-1F Malmstrom AFB 1967   UH-1F Eglin AFB 1969   UH-1F Edwards AFB 1971   UH-1F Ellisworth AFB 1971   UH-1N FT. Bragg 1973   HH-1H Hill AFB 1974   UH-1F F.E. Warren 1975   UH-1F Ellsworth AFB 1982   UH-1F Whiteman AFB 1982   UH-1N Bahamas 1984   UH-1 Ellsworth AFB 1986   UH-1N Edwards-Jan-1991   UH-1N Edwards-Oct-1991   UH-1N Kirtland AFB 1996   UH-1N 1998   UH-1N F.E. Warren AFB 1999   UH-1N Kirtland AFB 2002   TH-lH Ft. Rucker 2009   UH-1N Malmstrom AFB 2010   UH-1N Kirtland AFB 2011   UH-1N Minot AFB 2013   CH-3C Malmstrom AFB 1965   CH-3C Sheppard AFB Mar. 1967   CH-3 Sheppard AFB Nov. 1967   CH-3E Midair in Laos 1970   HH-3E Korea 1973   HH-3E Elmendorf AFB 1974   HH-3E Iceland 1979   CH-3E Patrick AFB, 1984   HH-3E Osan 1984   HH-3E 29-Palms 1988   HH-3E Kadena 1989   CH-3E DMAFB 1989   H-5G Ladd AFB 1951   H-5H Maxwell AFB 1953   H-5 New York 1958   H-13G Niagara Falls 1955   H-13 Bryan AFB, TX 1957   H-19A San Marcos 1952   H-19A O'Neill, NB. 1953   H-19B Alexandria, LA. 1954   H-19B Austria 1954   H-19B France 1954   H-19B Korea 1954   H-19B March AFB 1954   H-19B Rhine Main AB 1955   H-19B Eglin AFB 1955   H-19 Skaneateles Lake, NY 1956   H-19 Ashiya Japan 1957   H-19 Edwards AFB 1957   H-19 Niagra Falls 1959   H-19 Sheppard   H-19B Loring AFB 1960   H-19 Beal AFB 1963   H-19 Larson AFB 1963   H-19 Saigon, RVN 1964   YH-21 Thule AB 1953   H-21 Goose Bay 1954   H-21A San Marcos TX 1955   H-21B Tennesse 1955   H-21 San Diego, CA 1956   H-21 Alaska 1957   H-21 Goose Bay 1958.   SH-21 Greenland 1958   H-21 Elmendorf AFB 1958   H-21 Dugway Proving Grnd. 1958   H-21 Goose Bay 1959   H-21 Greenland 1959   CH-21B Otis AFB 1959   H-21 Indian Springs AAF 1961   H-21 Luke AFB 1961   H-23B Moody AFB 1953   H-43A James Connally AFB 1959   H-43B Loring AFB 1961   H-43B Westover AFB 1961   HH-43B MacDill AFB, FL 1964   HH-43B Stead AFB 1965   HH-43B Clark AB, PI 1966   H-43 Sheppard AFC, TX 1966   HH-43B Phan Rang 1968   HH-43B MacDill AFB 1969   HH-43B Hill AFB 1973   HH-53C Eglin AFB 1969   CH-53C Germany 1975   CH-53C Germany 1976   HH-53C Woodbridge 1977   HH-53C Kadena AB 1979   HH-53B Kirtland AFB 1981   HH-53C Kirtland AFB 1982   MH-53 Philippines 1984   CH-53C Pope AFB 1984   HH-53C Hickam AFB, HI 1985   HH-53C Hill AFB 1986   HH-53H Nellis AFB 1986   MH-53J Korea 1995   HH-53B Vance AFB 1996   HH-53B Cherry Point 1998   MH-53J Ft. Bragg 1999   MH-53M RAF Mildenhall 2000   MH-53 Durango CO 2002   MH-53M USNS Kanawha 2002   MH-53M Afghanistan 2003   MH-53M FOL Hurlburt Fld 2003   MH-53M Kuwait 2003   MH-53M Hurlburt Fld. 2007   UH-60A Pope AFB 1987   HH-60G New York 1991   MH-60G Antigua 1991   HH-60G Great Salt Lake 1992   HH-60G Davis-Monthan AFB 1994   HH-60G Korea 1994   HH-60G Indian Springs 1998   HH-60G Al Jabar AB 1999   HH-60G Avon Park 2001   HH-60G Mt. Hood 2002   HH-60G Afghanistan 2002   HH-60G Afghanistan 2003   HH-60G Afghanistan 2004   HH-60G Angel Fire, NM 2005   HH-60G Kandahar 2007   HH-60G Afghanistan 2009   HH-60G Okinawa 2013   HH-60G Lakenheath 2014   HH-60G Lakenheath 2014 1   HH-60G Lakenheath 2014 2   Ellsworth AFB 1955   Hawaii crash 1963   Patuxent River NAS 1960   Randolph AFB 1957   Spokane River, WA 1959   Tyndall AFB 1961   Wright-Patterson 1956   Spokane River 1972  

MH-53 #68-10363

551st Special Operations Squadron (SOS),

58th Special Operations Wing

Kirtland Air Force Bace (AFB), New Mexico

10 January 2002

On 10 January 2002, at approximately 0328 (all times are local), the mishap aircraft (MA), a MH-53, S/N 68-10363, crashed approximately 22 miles north northwest of Durango Co. The crew on the MA consisted of six people, the mission pilot, copilot, two flight engineers, and two aerial gunners. Also on board were a civilian search and rescue (SAR) responder, and the Cessna pilot whose earlier accident precipitated the SAR mission. The MA was one of two MH-53s conducting SAR operations at the request of civilian authorities. The mishap crew (MC) and civilian passengers suffered only minor injuries and egressed without incident. The MA was severely damaged upon impact with the loss valued at 5,303,376.00 dollars. The crash site is on national forest land and no claims for damage have been or are expected. The helicopter has been recovered and released by the AIB to be reconditioned, and Kirtlland AFB environmentalists are working with the San Juan Forest officials to thoroughly clean the site.


The MC initially planned a 1-ship night tactical training mission sortie. Prior to starting engines, the crews were tasked with a real-world SAR mission. An MC-130P from Kirtland AFB was also tasked to provide air refueling support. A civilian Cessna 172 with three persons on board had crashed earlier in the day, injuring two of the persons on board. The helicopters were reconfigured for SAR while cursory mission planning was taking place, and both MH-53s took off at 1930. The helicopters proceeded to Animas Airpark (4 miles from Durango CO) where local authorities briefed selected members from each helicopter. The MA also boarded a civilian SAR responder. The MA conducted search operations in the area identified by local authorities. After searching approximately three hours, the MA then returned to Animas Airpark 2330 and picked up the mishap Cessna pilot. His role was to narrow the search area by identifying terrain he flew over prior to his crash. At approximately 0300 the MC located the Cessna. While on final approach to the Cessna, the MA crashed in a gully less than a mile from the Cessna. All eight persons on board the helicopter safely egressed and established a campsite.


The accident was the result of pilot error brought on by a combination of fatigue and channelized attention. The aircraft was operating at the edge of its performance envelope and the crew had performed and extended duty day. Under these conditions, errors in judging speed and altitude made recovery impossible when the helicopter was confronted with an unexpected barrier.


Under 10 U.S.C 2254(d) any opinion of the accident investigators as to the cause of, or the factors contributing to, the accident set forth in the accident investigation report may not be considered as evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding arising from an aircraft accident, nor may such information be considered an admission of liability of the United States or by any person referred to in those conclusions or statements.


Source; http://usaf.aib.law.af.mil/ExecSum2002/MH-53_DurangoCO_10Jan02.pdf