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Loose Part Caused SoCal Marine Helicopter Crash

— The Marine Corps says two Marines who died in a helicopter crash in San Diego County forgot to tell mechanics about a loose cowling that struck the tail rotor. The Super Cobra crashed on May 5 in the Cleveland National Forest.

AH-1Z Super Cobra attack helicopter.
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Above: AH-1Z Super Cobra attack helicopter.

The Marines say the aircraft was inspected at the El Centro Naval Air Facility that day. A mechanic only partially secured the transmission cowling because he thought the chopper would be grounded overnight.

Instead, the pilot, Capt. Jessica Conkling, flew back to Miramar air station. She and 1st Lt. Aaron Cox didn't tell mechanics making another repair about the cover, which came off in flight. Both died.

The Marine report was issued Tuesday under a Freedom of Information request from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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