MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP S. D. BUTLER, OKINAWA, Japan --
On November 6, 2015, III Marine Expeditionary Force released
the findings of the command investigation into the
UH-1Y Huey mishap which occurred on May 12, 2015, during Joint Task Force 505’s
humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in support of Operation
Sahayogi Haat in Kathmandu, Nepal.
investigation has determined that the most probable cause of the mishap was the
decision of crew, after picking up the injured civilians from a village north
of Charikot, to fly the most direct route back to Kathmandu. The chosen
course required a brief period over unfamiliar terrain with unstable
meteorological conditions. It is believed that the aircraft, call sign
“Vengeance 01” (VE01), was enveloped by rapidly developing clouds or lifted
into a cloud by rising air currents. As they attempted to maneuver out of the
weather conditions, they lost visual reference with the terrain and impacted
The crew of
the VE01, was delivering humanitarian aid and evacuating casualties back to
Kathmandu in the wake of two separate and devastating earthquakes at the time
of the crash. There were six U.S. Marines, two Nepalese Army Liaison soldiers
and five injured Nepalese civilians on board.
The last received radio communication was approximately 40
minutes before the mishap, so it is impossible to know precisely what occurred
or the factors that influenced the crew to fly this route. Based on the investigation,
the most likely explanation is that the crew of VE01 decided to take the more
direct flight back to Kathmandu due to a real or perceived urgency in the
condition of one or more of the embarked casualties.
pilots and crew were experienced professionals, medically fit for flight duties
and equipped with the most technologically advanced utility helicopter. The
investigation concluded that mechanical malfunction or maintenance malpractices
were not contributing factors to the mishap.
The Marines and Nepalese
soldiers aboard VE01 showed uncompromising dedication to the humanitarian aid
mission in Nepal. We celebrate their lives by remembering their courageous and
selfless actions in the wake of natural disaster. The sacrifice they made for
their respective countries will not be forgotten and our thoughts are prayers
remain with their families at this difficult time.