A Fatal Mistake

A nonprofit volunteer who was killed last year after falling from an HH-60 helicopter operated by the California Air National Guard accidently clipped the Pavehawk’s winch to a plastic ring rather than his harness, Air Combat Command investigators determined. Shane Krogen, executive director of the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew, was being lowered from the helicopter by members of the 129th Rescue Wing at Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif., on Sept. 12, 2013, during an environmental cleanup effort in the Sequoya National Forest. The team was working as part of the California Joint Task Force Domestic Support counterdrug operations. “When the plastic D ring broke, Mr. Krogen fell from the aircraft to the ground from an approximate 40-foot hover and sustained fatal injuries,” according the accident investigation board’s report summary, which was issued Jan. 16. The AIB also concluded that the 129th RQW crew failed to adequately supervise the hook-up, contributing to the accident. In addition, Krogen’s personal gear “excessively cluttered the area around the load-bearing, metal D-ring, interfering with safe connection and visual inspection,” according to the board. (Langley release)