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Search for crashed Reaper drone suspended, to resume Thursday morning

The search continues for the MQ-9 Reaper drone that crashed into Lake Ontario – so far crews have not been able to locate the aircraft.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – The search continues for the MQ-9 Reaper drone that crashed into Lake Ontario – so far crews have not been able to locate the aircraft.

An official Air Force safety investigation into the crash is underway – it’s expected to take about 30 days to complete. They’re still trying to determine what caused one of the two drones involved in the exercise to crash on Tuesday.

The drones are operated by the 174th Attack Wing, but take off from Fort Drum.

"It’s not an everyday occurrence but investigations like this are routine. They will appoint an investigating officer, they will have technicians that will come up to the lake and recover the aircraft and determine exactly what caused it to go down,” said National Security Studies Director at SU’s Maxwell School Bill Smullen.

Smullen has a long history in the army – along with stints as special assistant to two Joint Chiefs of Staff and a Secretary of State.

”Yes, I was on a team from Syracuse years ago to, not lobby, but have conversations with the FAA and those conversations have moved them to a more serious point of consideration,” Smullen said.

Smullen believes the crash should not prevent the FAA from approving the flight of Reapers out of Hancock Field.

“I think for Syracuse to be relevant with regards to national security, with the 174th to be a contributor to our national security, we need to be sure that we protect the capabilities that are available to us,” Smullen said.

Smullen says unmanned aircraft are becoming a more integral part of the military and are the future of national security – and that training will always be a part of it.

The 174th’s entire fleet of MQ-9’s has been grounded for the time being.

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