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Crews resume search for downed drone in Lake Ontario


New York Air National Guard and other crews were unsuccessful in their search Wednesday for a missing MQ-9 Reaper drone, eight days after it crashed into Lake Ontario.

Maj. Sandra D. Stoquert, spokeswoman for the 174th Attack Wing, Syracuse, said the unit searched the shoreline for the aircraft along with the Sandy Creek Fire Department. At the same time, Navy salvage experts are coordinating with the unit for the potential use of divers to locate the multimillion-dollar aircraft.

The search resumed Wednesday after it was called off Monday afternoon and Tuesday because of inclement weather.

Wednesday was the last day the unit will lead the search before transferring the work to a special Air Force Safety Investigation Board.

The aircraft crashed Nov. 12, about 12 miles from the lake’s eastern shore and 35 miles from Fort Drum’s Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, where it took off. The aircraft was traveling in approved airspace during a routine training exercise at the time of the crash. The unit’s remaining Reapers have been grounded since the crash.

Maj. Stoquert previously estimated that a public report about the cause of the crash may not be released for three to six months, following the end of the work of the safety board, which will produce an internal report.

The crash was not the only incident of a wayward drone in the past week.

On Saturday, two sailors aboard the USS Chancellorsville were injured when a drone struck the ship in the Pacific off Point Mugu in Southern California. The cause of that crash is also under investigation.

On Thursday, an unspecified drone model crashed about five miles north of Creech Air Force Base, Nev. No people were injured in connection to the crash, and an investigation is underway.

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