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Apache Helicopter Crash Kills 2 Mississippi National Guardsmen

Apache Helicopter

On February 23, 2024, two Mississippi Army National Guardsmen lost their lives when their AH-64 Apache attack helicopter crashed during a routine training flight near Booneville, Mississippi.

Officials identified the Mississippi Army Guardsmen as 36-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bryan Andrew Zemek, and 42-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Joshua Abbott. Both men were decorated, highly skilled aviators.

The military helicopter crash near Booneville was the second Apache helicopter crash this month. The other, which occurred in Utah, injured two pilots.

The crashes prompted Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen to order an aviation safety standdown for all Army Guard helicopter units. The purpose of the stand down is to review and strengthen safety policies and procedures to prevent crashes.

A similar standdown was ordered for all V-22 Osprey aircraft operated by the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps after a deadly crash off the coast of Japan last November that killed all eight aboard. This comes on the heels of an Osprey crash in Australia killing 3 Marines, and the 2022 crash of an Osprey in California that killed 5 Marines. Another Army-wide aviation standdown was ordered last year, prompted by two other fatal helicopter crashes.

“The number of crashes over the decade is a serious concern for members of the military and their families,” says aviation attorney and Marine Corps veteran, Timothy A. Loranger. “Apache helicopters and other aircraft are flown daily, and the men and women who fly them deserve to know whether their equipment is safe.”

President Joe Biden, in a statement, offered his prayers and support to the families, units, and the Mississippi National Guard during this difficult time. The nation mourns the loss of these two brave soldiers who embodied the spirit of service and dedication.

CWO4 Bryan Andrew Zemek and CWO4 Derek Joshua Abbott

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves expressed his condolences to the families and friends of Zemek and Abbott, recognizing their honorable service and ultimate sacrifice. Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, the adjutant general of Mississippi, also paid tribute to the fallen soldiers, emphasizing the selfless commitment and courage displayed by these brave men.

CWO4 Zemek served in the Mississippi National Guard as a standardization instructor pilot. He is survived by his wife and their four children.

CWO4 Abbott served in the Mississippi National Guard as a maintenance test pilot. He is survived by his wife and their three children.

Both men were Mississippi natives who earned awards for their service.

What Caused the Mississippi National Guard Helicopter Crash?

As authorities continue to investigate the cause of the helicopter crash, questions regarding maintenance, mechanical issues, and more will undoubtedly be scrutinized. Military helicopter crash investigations typically take 12 to 18 months to complete, though some inquiries take longer.

The Army conducted a five-year aviation safety review, which found that Apache helicopters accounted for more than a quarter of its rotary-wing mishaps. Aviation Safety Network lists 183 total accidents and incidents since 1980 involving the AH-64 Apache. Of those, more than 60 resulted in deaths.

Apache Helicopter Accident Attorneys

The brave men and women who serve our country deserve top-notch aircraft and parts to fulfill their duty. They should not have to face the dangers of mechanical failures caused by negligence, design flaws, or shoddy maintenance.

If you or a member of your family was harmed in a military accident, we are here to help. The Feres Doctrine prevents service members from suing the military, but you may still have grounds to pursue legal action against aircraft manufacturers or negligent third parties involved in the incident.

Wisner Baum’s top military accident attorney, Timothy A. Loranger, is a Marine Corps veteran with experience earning justice and compensation for service members and their families. With a successful track record in military aircraft cases, Tim and his colleagues are dedicated to fighting for justice for those who dedicate their lives to service.

Since 1985, Wisner Baum has earned over $4 billion in verdicts and settlements. Our firm has the resources and experience to take on any corporate defendant and win. But don’t take our word for it; read about how we have helped past clients obtain justice and maximum compensation.

Contact us anytime at (855) 948-5098 or fill out our contact form to discuss your case with a proven military accident attorney.


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