ROCHESTER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - The victims of the upstate New York chopper crash that claimed the lives of three National Guard troops have been identified.
They were conducting night vision goggle training in the area at the time of the crash.
Christian Koch, 39, was killed Wednesday when a Blackhawk medical evacuation helicopter crashed in Monroe County. Koch was a 20-year veteran of the New York Army National Guard. He served in Afghanistan and Iraq and won numerous awards.
He had been a pilot with the New York State Police since 2016. He was honored by the Red Cross of Western New York for his role in the June 2020 rescue of an 11-year-old boy, in which the boy was hoisted more than 100 feet from a gorge and taken for medical care.
Koch leaves behind a wife and four children. A GoFundMe has been established to help his family. To contribute, CLICK HERE.
Chief Warrant Officer Steven Skoda, 54, was also killed in the crash. He was a 35-year veteran of the Army and the New York National Guard. He served in Afghanistan for six years, and was given numerous awards during his career including the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the NATO Medal among others.
Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Prial, 30, also died in the crash. He served in Afghanistan and also had received numerous awards, including the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Afghan Campaign Medal and the Army Aviator Badge.
Prial is from Warwick in Orange County. Neighbors lined the street where his family lives with American flags.
Prial's parents say he loved being in the military.
"If he took a safer job, he may be with us, but he wouldn't have been happy. This is what he wanted to do, and he died doing what he loved," mother Anne Prial said.
"He got cheated out of years, but he didn't get cheated out of the time, you know. The time he had," father Greg Prial said.
U.S. Army aviation safety investigators are leading the investigation into the crash.
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