1 dead, 5 hurt in Calif military helicopter crash

By AMY TAXIN and JULIE WATSON | July 7, 2011 | 2:44 PM EDT

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) — A decorated Marine from western New York who was recently engaged was the sole fatality in a Marine Corps helicopter crash at Southern California's Camp Pendleton that left five others hospitalized.

Sgt. Trevor Cook, 25, of Lyndonville, N. Y., was killed during a training exercise when the UH-1Y helicopter went down Wednesday in the northern section of the sprawling coastal base, said 1st Lt. Maureen Dooley, a spokeswoman at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Cook was a crew chief with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. He enlisted in September 2004 and was a decorated officer who had served in Afghanistan.

The family told New York media outlets that Cook recently got engaged to a 23-year-old California woman.

Officials said they were withholding the names and details of the other injured Marines until their families were notified.

At least three of the injured people were taken to nearby Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in San Diego, about 30 miles south of the base, hospital spokeswoman Lisa Ohmstede said. She didn't know what other hospitals took in patients from the crash.

Wednesday was sunny and hot in the county, so it was unclear if weather played a role. The section is a remote mountainous area where the Marine Corps conducts takeoffs and landings.

Dooley said the cause of the crash was under investigation.

It was the first major accident involving a UH-1Y helicopter since the Marine Corps starting using them in training in 2008. The helicopter belonged to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Camp Pendleton.

The UH-1Y helicopter, known as a Yankee Huey, is a modernized variant of the decades-old UH-1 design by Bell Helicopter. Among the survivability features on the UH-1Y are "crashworthy" crew seats and fuel tanks, according to a description of the aircraft on the Bell Helicopter website. The UH-1Y is described as a medium-sized helicopter with two engines and one four-bladed main rotor.

The Marine Corps currently has 44 UH-1Y helicopters. The UH-1Y was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and is said to be able to operate in extreme conditions from Arctic cold to desert heat, according to Bell Helicopter.


Watson reported from San Diego. AP Writer Sue Manning in Los Angeles contributed to this report.