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2 Killed, 2 Hurt During Night Copter Drills at Edwards

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An Air Force search and rescue helicopter crashed during a night training mission at Edwards Air Force Base, killing two crew members and injuring two others, an Air Force spokesman said Tuesday.

A UH-1N Huey, manufactured by Bell Helicopter-Textron Inc., crashed at 6:40 p.m. Monday near the north base complex, 90 miles north of Los Angeles, spokesman Dennis Shoffner said. The cause of the crash is being investigated by a board of Air Force officers, and the results will be available within 90 days.

Killed in the accident were the pilot, Capt. John Augustine, 26, of Lincoln, Neb., and flight engineer Sgt. Robert Lovell, 30, of Bunker Hill, Ill.

Crew chief Sgt. William Tyler, 35, of Topeka, Kan., suffered internal injuries and was taken by helicopter to the critical care unit at Antelope Valley Hospital Medical Center. He was listed in serious but stable condition late Tuesday, hospital officials said.

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Maj. Alan Resnicke, 36, of Bakersfield, also a pilot, was taken by ambulance to March Air Force Base in Riverside with a broken arm and lacerations. He was undergoing surgery late Tuesday, officials said.

The Huey is a twin-engine workhorse helicopter used by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps for transporting troops and light equipment and for battlefield medical evacuation.

It was first flown in 1956 and has been in use by the Air Force since 1971. About 30 of the aircraft were serving in Operation Desert Shield as of Jan. 1, about half from Camp Pendleton.

Monday’s training mission was not related to Operation Desert Shield, Shoffner said. The helicopter, which was flying the mission alone, was not involved in a collision.

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