MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Months after a helicopter crash took the lives of three Minnesota National Guard members, investigators say their deaths could have been prevented.

The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk went down on Dec. 5, 2019 near Kimball, just south of St. Cloud.

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An internal investigation reveals the crucial errors leading up to the crash, The first engine failed because a hydromechanical unit was not installed or inspected properly. The backup engine was in the idle setting, leaving nothing to power the helicopter.

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(credit: CBS)

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The report also says both the test pilot and pilot failed to either maneuver or land the plane. Tragically, it also states that the aircraft mechanic on board should not have been allowed on the flight.

The report puts blame on leaders, saying they failed to adequately assess the technical inspector’s ability to do his job.

Though that inspector is no longer with the guard, investigators recommend more training for pilots and test pilots so that this never happens again. And so that the lives of Sgt. Kort Plantenberg and Chief Warrant Officers James Rogers and Charles Nord are honored with real change.

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Erin Hassanzadeh