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Search called off for drone that crashed in Lake Ontario

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The search for the unmanned MQ-9 Reaper aircraft that crashed last fall in Lake Ontario will not continue this spring, according to the New York National Guard.

Eric Durr, Guard spokesman, said that the recent harsh winter of strong waves on the lake likely dispersed the debris of the downed aircraft.

The drone crashed Nov. 12 after taking off from Fort Drum’s Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. The crash took place about 12 miles from the lake’s eastern shore, near Oswego, and 35 miles from the airfield. The aircraft was traveling in approved airspace during a routine training exercise at the time of the crash.

Multiple pieces of debris were found during previous shoreline searches for the aircraft in subsequent weeks.

The drone was among those flown by the New York Air Guard’s Syracuse-based 174th Attack Wing. The unit halted its drone operations for a few weeks in the crash’s aftermath.

An Air Force Accident Investigation Board completed a report about the crash, according to a spokesman for the service’s Air Combat Command, who said on Monday that it is under review from the service’s leadership prior to its public release. The timing of that release could not be confirmed.

Though the unit initially estimated the cost of the aircraft at $4 million to $5 million, General Atomics, the company that makes the Reaper, told the Associated Press the drone’s cost starts at $10 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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