Fort Drum Drone Crashes In Lake Ontario

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A drone from Fort Drum has crashed in eastern Lake Ontario.

The New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs said the MQ-9 Reaper went down at approximately 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The drone was being used during a routine training mission being conducted by the Formal Training Unit of the New York Air National Guard's 174th Attack Wing.

Officials said no one was injured and the aircraft had no weapons on board.

The aircraft took off from Wheeler Sack Army Airfield at Fort Drum and was operating in approved military training airspace over Lake Ontario as part of the 174th's mission of training MQ-9 pilots and sensor operators for the Air Force.

The drone -- one of four based at Fort Drum -- was operated remotely from near Syracuse.

Base first responders are working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and local officials to respond to the crash.

Coast Guard officials were searching the Mexico Bay area of Lake Ontario.

Air Force officials will investigate the crash.

The 174th Attack Wing held a press conference Tuesday and Col. Greg Semmel, the Wing's commander, said a plan was being put together to continue the search Wednesday.

He put the value at more than a "couple of a million" dollars. All flying operations of the 174th have been suspended for the time being.

"The mission was going as advertised, up to the point where we did lose control of the airplane," he said.

"We have no reports of any injuries or damage to civilian property at this time," Semmel said.

"It's as safe of an airplane as any other plane that the Air Force flies," he said, "and that should keep the confidence in the process ongoing of us with the goal of flying off of Hancock field."

Semmel said simulated weapons, training devices, were on board the drone.

The MQ-9 Reaper is a medium-to-high altitude, long endurance remotely piloted aircraft.

The Reaper's primary mission is to act as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance asset, employing sensors to provide real-time data to commanders and intelligence specialists at all levels.
 

Friday, July 25, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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