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Alaska Beat

Lt. Lance Leone, sole survivor of Coast Guard crash, opens up about ordeal

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published November 28, 2012

For the first time since the fatal U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crash off the coast of Washington in 2010, Lt. Lance Leone, a Sitka-based aviator and sole survivor of the crash, has opened up to Sitka radio station KCAW regarding the incident which left three people dead and has likely ended his Coast Guard aviation career.

On July 7, 2010, the helicopter Leone was co-piloting struck low power lines near La Push, Wash., and then crashed into the ocean. Brett Banks, 33, Adam C. Hoke, 40, and the mission's pilot-in-command, Sean Krueger, 33, all perished.

Charges of negligent homicide, dereliction of duty and destruction of government property were investigated against Leone in 2011, but were eventually not brought to court martial.

However, Leone's attorney John Smith is appealing the official crash report and subsequent decision that resulted in the recommendation that Leone not be allowed to participate in flight operations again, a move Smith calls a "career killer."

Now, Leone has opened up about the incident to KCAW Radio in Sitka for the first time. In a three-part interview, Leone recounts the flight, the crash and his time in the hospital.

Check out the entire interview at KACW.

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