The U.S. Marine Corps is releasing its report into the cause a helicopter crash in Nepal last spring which killed a Nebraska native and five other Marines during an earthquake relief mission.
Dustin Lukasiewicz, 29, a native of Wilcox, was piloting the helicopter when it went down in a rugged mountainous area on May 12.
A report by a Marine investigation team determined that the mishap was likely caused when the crew decided to take a more direct, but unfamiliar route after picking up injured civilians from a remote village to fly back to Kathmandu.
The report further revealed that rapidly developing clouds or rising air currents may have caused the crew to lose visual reference with the terrain with the aircraft impacting the ground.
The investigation report says the last radio communication received from the helicopter crew was about 40 minutes before the mishap, so it’s impossible to know exactly what may have occurred or what factors may have influenced the crew in deciding on their chosen flight path.
The investigation further revealed that the pilots and crew were fully experienced, physically fit for their assigned task and that mechanical failure or maintenance malpractices were not contributing factors to the mishap.
By Brent Wiethorn, KKPR, Kearney