approximately 1423(L), on 26 January 2007, a MH-6OS,
BUN0 166310 (Bullet 10), assigned to Helicopter Combat
Support Squadron TWO THREE Detachment THREE (HSC-23
Det 3), and underway on the USS BONHOMME RICHARD (BHR)
(LHD 6), crashed while conducting in-flight operations
training in the SOCAL OPAREA. The crash of Bullet 10
resulted in the deaths of four crewmembers:
(1) LT Adam Dyer, Helicopter Aircraft Commander (HAC);
(2) LTJG Laura J. Mankey, Pilot;
(3) AW1 Cory Helman, Search and Rescue (SAR) Aircrew;
(4) AW2 (AW/NAC) Christopher M. Will , SAR Aircrew Chief.
At 1342, after refueling and retrieving box lunches,
Bullet 10 launched/departed the ship. At 1407, Bullet
10 requested and received permission to climb to 1,000
angels for training. At 1414, Bullet 10 reported "ops
normal." At 1423:54, Bullet 10's Electronic Locator
Transmitter (ELT) sounded. At 1423:56 a "mayday"
call was made. During the mayday call, the HAC is overheard
telling the crew to "strap in PCL, PCL." At
1424:03, the ELT stopped transmitting. At 1424, BHR
reported the crash and sent Bullet 11 to conduct SAR.
At 1435, a SAR swimmer successfully recovered the body
from the water. The SAR effort would continue for the
hours involving multiple air and waterborne assets,
including all BHR ship assets as well as some Coast
Guard assets. At 1505, 27 January 2007, the SAR effort
was terminated and three missing crewmembers were declared
"Lost at Sea."
On 16 February 2007, during salvage operations, the
wreckage of Bullet 10 and the remains of the three missing
crewmembers were recovered. Subsequent engineering reports
revealed that the damage to Bullet 10 is consistent
with the aircraft entering the water in a tail-down,
right roll altitude with the aircraft having a backward
At the time of the incident, the weather satisfied the
Flight Rules (VFR) conditions. Based on review of training
records, all crewmembers had the sufficient training,
experience and skill to handle in-flight emergencies
related to flight control. Moreover, all crewmembers
were cleared of all medical conditions or medications
which could have caused this mishap.