For the first time since the 2010 crash of Coast Guard helicopter 6017, the incident’s sole survivor has granted an interview to the news media.
Lt. Lance Leone was the only one of a four-person crew from Air Station Sitka to make it through the crash, which happened off the coast of La Push, Wash.
The crew was flying a newly re-fit Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Astoria back to Sitka.
“The morning of the mishap, we all woke up, we had breakfast at a hotel in Astoria. Everyone was very happy to have had the opportunity to go to Astoria. It was one of the warmest couple days on record there,” he said in an interview recorded Nov. 12. “Leaving Sitka, heading down to Astoria where it was beautiful, taking the opportunity to do lots of shopping at Costco. We were all very motivated to get back home.”
Lt. Sean Krueger, Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Hoke and Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Banks died in the crash. Leone faced criminal charges afterward. After a hearing, the charges were dropped, but he was admonished by District headquarters and later transferred to a desk job in Texas.
In an interview with KCAW, Leone talks about the accident, its immediate aftermath, and how it’s shaped his life and career since.
Because of the time limitations in a newscast, we’re airing the conversation in three parts. The first segment will air Monday at 8:18 a.m., and appear online shortly afterward.