Orange County soldier identified as 1 of the 3 people killed in helicopter crash

One of the three soldiers killed in a military helicopter crash Wednesday lived in Orange County, Executive Steve Neuhaus says.

News 12 Staff

Jan 22, 2021, 10:42 PM

Updated 1,249 days ago


A solider from Orange County was among the three people killed in a military helicopter crash Wednesday, according to the National Guard.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Prial, from Warwick, was killed along with Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steven Skoda and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian Koch.
Military officials say the three soldiers belonged to a medical evacuation unit whose mission is to pick up casualties on the battlefield and transport them to military medical facilities.
According to military officials, the UH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopter flew out of the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport Wednesday night.
They say the aircraft was assigned to C Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion, and that the three soldiers on board were taking part in a routine training flight. About half the unit spent most of 2019 deployed in Afghanistan. The crash happened in the town of Mendon, which is about 17 miles south of Rochester.
Investigators say multiple calls for an aircraft in distress came in around 6:30 p.m. There were 911 calls about the sounds of an engine sputtering and an aircraft flying very low.
Witnesses who saw the helicopter crash say they believe it landed where it did to avoid hitting nearby homes and hurting people on the ground. The FAA and the National Guard will handle the investigation.
Prial served as a medical evacuation platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne Division's 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, he deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 and 2015 with the 82nd Airborne Division, and served as an instructor pilot for students at the Fort Rucker, Alabama, where the Army trains helicopter pilots.
He served in the United States Army for eight years as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot before accepting a commission with the New York National Guard.
He was 30 years old.
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus says it's a true loss for the Hudson Valley region. "One of the individuals was from Orange County, and it is definitely hitting home," says Neuhaus. "Serving in our armed forces has risk, and unfortunately these three brave soldiers paid the ultimate price. We keep their families in our prayers."
"These guardsmen were members of our Monroe County community stationed here, and like so many others swore an oath to protect the freedoms and liberties we hold dear," says Monroe County Executive Adam J. Bello.
"It breaks my heart. I can't even imagine the effort it must have taken to get that helicopter to the field away from the houses. That really gave me pause this morning," says witness Tracy Walker.

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