PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – An Air Force helicopter crash in England that killed a local crew member and three others was caused by geese hitting aircraft.
The Air Force announced Wednesday that the birds broke through the Pave Hawk helicopter’s windscreen during a training mission on Jan. 7. The helicopter slammed into the coast during a low-level training mission near a Royal Air Force station in Lakenheath.
Capt. Sean Ruane, 31, was the co-pilot. The Air Force says he and the pilot were knocked unconscious by the birds before the crash.
Capt. Ruane was a 2000 graduate of Montour High School. He left a wife and 14-month-old son behind.
The Air Force captain, who had already completed three deployments to Iraq and two to Afghanistan, was supposed to return home for good later this year.
Pave Hawks – a modified version of the better-known Black Hawks – are mostly used for combat search-and-rescue missions. They typically fly fast, often just hundreds of feet above ground.
Capt. Ruane was laid to rest at Resurrection Cemetery.
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