by Jackie Bartz
Monday, July 12, 2010
SITKA, Alaska -- A close-knit community is struggling in the wake of a helicopter crash that killed three Sitka-based Coast Guard crewmen and injured another. Sitka residents say everyone in town is feeling the loss, and that the men were fathers, friends and good neighbors. Many say they feel stunned and devastated.
Locals say it's so routine for the Coast Guard to fly out in bad weather to save lives that they never imagined an accident in good weather. It's a tragedy that hits close to home for most, as the lost men volunteered both in schools and with local search and rescue crews.
Lt. Sean Krueger, Aviation Maintenance Technician 1st Class Adam Hoke, and Aviation Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Brett Banks died after witnesses say their MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter clipped a power line and crashed off La Push, Wash. The sole survivor, Lt. Lance Leone, was seriously injured.