Deadly Marine chopper crash caused by maintenance issue

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Capt. Elizabeth Kealey and 1st Lt. Adam Satterfield (Photos: Marine Corps Air Station Miramar)

SAN DIEGO – The investigation into the cause of a military helicopter crash that killed two Camp Pendleton Marines was revealed Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Improper maintenance of the UH-1Y Venom helicopter led to the transmission seizing up and the main rotor stopping, according to the Marine Corps investigation.  A filter cover was not properly installed causing the transmission to lose oil while in flight.

Misjudgment of the pilot was also listed as a cause of the crash, the Times reported.

1st Lt. Adam Satterfield, 25, and 32-year-old Capt. Elizabeth Kealey were aboard the helicopter before it crashed 400 yards from its landing site at Twentynine Palms January 23.

An investigative officer reported a warning light came on, but the pilots decided against landing at closer airports.

Maj. Gen. Michael Rocco, commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, accepted the report’s findings and its recommendation that no punitive action be taken against Marines involved with maintenance, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Kealey of Indiana, Penn. had been in the Marine Corps since May 2005 and served as a helicopter pilot and weapons training instructor.  She had been deployed twice with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and once in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Satterfield of Oldham, Ky. was commissioned in the Marine Corps in June 2011.  He served within HMLA-169 as a UH-1Y helicopter pilot and supported Marine Air-Ground Task Force training operations in the Southern California area.

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