Hearing Begins in Alaska Over Fatal Coast Guard Crash

By BECKY BOHRER | December 9, 2011

The defense took aim at a Coast Guard investigator’s contention that the co-pilot of a helicopter that crashed, killing three, was “not actively navigating.”

An attorney for Lt. Lance Leone, John Smith, referred to the transcript of the cockpit voice recorder, which indicated Leone helped run through safety checklists and watch for hazards.

Smith said Leone and the pilot engaged in training during part of the flight, and the crash investigator, Capt. Timothy Heitsch, acknowledged that the helicopter would have missed the wires it ultimately hit had it stayed programmed at the speed and altitude that Leone at one point set it to.

Smith said the pilot changed it, with no warning to the rest of the crew, shortly before the 2010 crash off the Washington coast.

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