BOISE, Idaho (KLIX)-Investigators say pilots of an Idaho National Guard helicopter lost visual reference of a mountain side during bad weather before crashing near Boise in early February that killed all three onboard.

During a press conference Friday morning in Boise, the Idaho National Guard told reporters the crew flying the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter the night of February 2, had lost sight as the weather deteriorated during a routine training flight near Lucky Peak. On board were Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jesse Anderson, Chief Warrant Officer 3 George “Geoff” Laubhan and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Peltzer.

Officials said Peltzer was at the controls when they lost all visibility and began a procedure called inadvertent instrument meteorological condition (IIMC), meaning the crew were transitioning between using visual reference to fly the aircraft to using solely instruments to fly. Laubhan had taken control of the helicopter just before they began the procedure. Investigators say the crew had only 14 seconds to transition before they hit the mountain side. “As helicopter pilots, one of the most difficult and dangerous emergency procedures that we can be exposed to is IIMC,” said Col. Chris Burt, the Idaho Army National Guard’s state aviation officer said in a prepared statement. “The crew initiated the procedure appropriately while maintaining excellent crew coordination, however, the crew was unable to successfully establish a rate of climb that would allow the aircraft to clear the rising terrain and the ridgeline.”

Anderson, of Boise, was married with four children. He was a senior instructor pilot and was with the Idaho National Guard since 2008. Laubhan, of Boise, was married with two children and had served with the Guard since 2010. Pelzer, lived in Nampa, he was married with two children and served in the Guard since 2005 as a pilot.

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