NY National Guardsman 'In Fight For His Life' After Surviving Helicopter Crash That Killed 3

To say that Jacob Pratt has a long road to recovery is an understatement.

Jacob Pratt.

Jacob Pratt.

Photo Credit: GoFundMe/NYS Council of School Superintendents
From left: Jacob Pratt, Casey Frankoski, and John Grassia.

From left: Jacob Pratt, Casey Frankoski, and John Grassia.

Photo Credit: Facebook/Senator Jake Ashby

The New York National Guard soldier, a Rensselaer County native from the city of Rensselaer, remains in intensive care after being the sole survivor of a helicopter crash on the US-Mexico border that killed three others.

According to the Joint Task Force North, Pratt was aboard a UH-72 Lakota chopper when it went down while flying near Rio Grande City, Texas on Friday, March 8.

The crash killed New York National Guard soldiers Casey Frankoski, also from Rensselaer, and John Grassia, a New York State Police trooper from Niskayuna. A US Border Patrol agent also died in the crash.

Investigators have not said what caused the aircraft to go down.

Meanwhile, Pratt has undergone multiple surgeries in Texas after suffering severe injuries, including fractures in his back, ribs, leg, and pelvis, family friends said on a GoFundMe campaign to help with the mounting expenses not covered by the military.

“With a mixture of heavy hearts and hopeful spirits, we reach out to you in support of National Guardsman Aircraft Crew Chief Jacob Pratt – a cherished, kind, courageous young man currently in the fight for his life,” organizers said.

In the weeks since the crash, relatives have provided regular updates on Pratt’s condition. On March 22, they announced that he was no longer on an oxygen mask and was breathing on his own, though his pain levels remained “fierce.” He was then transferred to a rehabilitation center.

Pratt’s recovery hit a speed bump days later, when he landed back in the ICU following an additional 12-hour surgery.

“While the family fully understands the need for the surgery to continue his healing and recovery, it is extremely difficult to see him back in the ICU with the monitors, iv's, tubes and wires,” reads the GoFundMe.

“Although necessary, it feels like a setback. Jacob was in a tremendous amount of pain before, and though the surgery was considered a success, his pain level has practically doubled.

On Monday, April 8, Pratt’s family revealed that he had suffered even further setbacks after developing a fever believed to be caused by pneumonia. Doctors had to insert a chest tube as a result.

“This will unfortunately prolong Jacob's stay in the hospital and delay his healing as his body fights yet again one more challenge,” organizers said. “We continue to ask for prayers for Jacob and his family as he continues his recovery and healing, both physical and emotional.”

So far, supporters have contributed nearly $125,000 to the campaign. Those who wish to donate can do so here.

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