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Trainees work on an MQ-9 Reaper at the Hancock field Air National Guard base near Syracuse, NY. Photo: David Sommerstein.
Trainees work on an MQ-9 Reaper at the Hancock field Air National Guard base near Syracuse, NY. Photo: David Sommerstein.

Reaper drone crashes in Lake Ontario

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The search for an unmanned drone aircraft that went down in the waters of Lake Ontario yesterday, is expected to continue today. There were no reports of any injuries or damage to civilian property after the crash.

The M-Q-9 Reaper was involved in a routine student training mission with the 174th Attack Wing out of Mattydale, when it crashed about 20 miles northeast of Oswego.

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Reported by

Ellen Abbott
Reporter, WRVO

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The aircraft had been on a training mission for about three hours, when it went down inside the confines of military special-use airspace in the southeastern end of Lake Ontario.

Colonel Greg Semmel, Commander of the 174th Attack Wing, won’t speculate what caused the crash noting, an official Air Force Safety investigation will determine that.

In the meantime a Coast Guard vessel and helicopter from Buffalo started a search for the remains of the unmanned drone yesterday, but that was called off because of the weather.  Semmel says it’s a big aircraft, that  could leave some debris behind.

"The airplane is a 66-foot wingspan, a fairly large aircraft. I think it’s a combination of parts floating and parts not floating, so--to be determined, really. We’ll see what actually does float and come up on shore.”

Semmel emphasizes that there were no weapons or other hazardous materials on board the drone, although there could be gasoline leakage  from the wreckage.

The 174th has suspended all flying operations for now, and is working with several state, federal and local organizations as the recovery of wreckage, and the investigation continues.

The drone had taken off from an Airfield at Fort Drum and was involved in routine training of M-Q pilots and sensor operators for the Air Force, when the the plane went down.

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