HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Pilot error and a lack of training are to blame for the collision of two Marine Corps helicopters off Oahu's North Shore in January, a Marine Corps investigation has concluded.
Twelve Marines died in the crash, which happened about two miles off Haleiwa just before 11 p.m. on Jan. 14.
A report to be released Wednesday says the pilots in the crash failed to maintain adequate distance during the '"night flight" exercise. The report also said the pilots' Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii squadron neglected to focus on basic aviation practices, leaving personnel ill prepared for the rigors of flying in formation and in the dark.
In a statement Tuesday, the Marines said both CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters were mechanically sound.
"This loss of life was tragic and is felt deeply in the Marine Corps community," Marine Corps Pacific spokesman Lt. Col. Curtis L. Hill said, in the statement. "Our thoughts go out to the families of all those affected by this incident."
In reporting Tuesday, the University of California-Berkeley Investigative Reporting program said the full Marine Corps report found the pilots lacked adequate training time and the flight should have been cancelled because the unit commander had been fired days before the incident.
Killed in the crash were:
Maj. Shawn M. Campbell, 41, College Station, Texas.
Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, 31, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Capt. Kevin T. Roche, 30, St. Louis, Missouri.
Capt. Steven R. Torbert, 29, Florence, Alabama.
Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina, 24, Chaska, Minnesota.
Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, 25, Gardners, Pennsylvania.
Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler, 22, Woodruff, South Carolina.
Sgt. William J. Turner, 25, Florala, Alabama.
Cpl. Matthew R. Drown, 23, Spring, Texas.
Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas, 22, Fort Myers, Florida.
Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando, 23, Hingham, Massachusetts.
Lance Cpl. Ty L. Hart, 21, Aumsville, Oregon.