Helicopter pilots Capt. Julia McKusick and 1st Lt. Melissa Taylor were on their way to a field training exercise in South Korea on Saturday when they saw a local firefighting helicopter plunge into the Han River.
They were the first to see the crash, so they called the Seoul Airbase traffic control tower to report the accident as they hovered overhead in their UH-60 Black Hawk, according to a Monday release from the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade.
“I was the pilot in command of the helicopter," Taylor, of 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, said in the release. “When we saw what happened, there was no doubt in my mind we needed to do everything we could to help out that crashed helicopter crew.”
They saw two aircrew emerge from the downed helicopter, then waited for rescue boats to arrive before they got on their way, McKusick said.
“There’s an assumed kinship between all aviators, regardless of whether they are Korean or American,” said Lt. Col. Keith Sandoval, their battalion commander, said in the release. “I feel fortunate Capt. McKusick and 1st Lt. Taylor were there to provide such a quick response and render whatever aid they could to our fellow Korean aviators.”