9 dead after two Army helicopters crash during training in Kentucky
Nine people died after two U.S. Army helicopters crashed during a training operation in Kentucky on Wednesday night, the military said Thursday morning.
The crash involved two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters that are part of the 101st Airborne Division and occurred around 10 p.m. on Wednesday over Trigg County, located in the southwestern part of the state on its border with Tennessee.
The 101st Airborne said in a release posted on its Twitter account that crewmembers were flying a routine training mission when the crash occurred. The crash is under investigation.
“The command is currently focused on caring for the servicemembers and their families,” the release said.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) tweeted that the state police and Division of Emergency Management along with local officials were responding to the crash. He said he is traveling to Fort Campbell, which is about 60 miles northwest of Nashville, on Thursday morning to support the troops and their families.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Sarah Burgess said at a news conference that the crash occurred in a wooded area in a field. She said no reports of damage to residences had been made.
Brig. Gen. John Lucas, the deputy commander for the 101st Airborne, said at a separate press conference on Thursday that officials are in the process of notifying the victims’ families.
He said the Army has deployed an aircraft safety team from Fort Rucker in Alabama that was scheduled to arrive later Thursday to initiate an investigation.
“This is a truly tragic loss for our families, our division and Fort Campbell, and our No. 1 priority is caring for the families and the soldiers within our combat aviation brigade,” Lucas said.
He said four people were in one helicopter and five were in another, and officials are not sure if the helicopters collided.
Reuters reported that the HH-60 is a variant of the Black Hawk helicopter that is designed to provide support for military operations like air assaults and medical evacuations.
A Black Hawk helicopter crashed along an Alabama highway during a training exercise last month, killing two Tennessee National Guard pilots.
The Hill’s Brad Dress and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Updated: 10:41 a.m.
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