Two weeks after drone crash, military training resumes with the aircraft


John O’Brien

SYRACUSE, NY — Two weeks after an unmanned drone crashed into Lake Ontario, the New York Air National Guard has resumed training with the aircraft out of Fort Drum.

Col. Greg Semmel, commander of the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing, will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. today to discuss the unit’s resumption of training flight operations from Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield at Fort Drum.

The training resumed on Tuesday, the unit announced in a news release this morning.

The news conference will be at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base on Molloy Road in Syracuse.

The guard’s MQ-9 Reaper flight operations were suspended Nov. 12 after the drone crashed 20 miles northeast of the port of Oswego into Lake Ontario during a routine training mission. The crash was about 12 miles from shore.

A U.S. Navy team from the Fleet Forces Command based in Virginia arrived in Oswego on Wednesday to prepare for search and recovery efforts using Navy salvage divers.

An undisclosed number of pieces of the wreckage have been recovered by the Air National Guard near Montario Point in southern Jefferson County. The Sandy Creek Volunteer Fire Department helped recover the wreckage, which washed up on a sandbar near the shore.

The 174th Attack Wing is asking members of the public who find any aircraft debris to call the wing’s Emergency Operations Center at 233-2257 or 2258.

The MQ-9 aircraft debris does not contain hazardous materials but any material found should be handled with caution, the Air Force said.