According to military officials, two Army Black Hawk helicopters collided in Kentucky on Wednesday night, resulting in the deaths of all nine servicemen.
Fort Campbell officials reported that two 101st Airborne Division helicopters collided during a training exercise around 10 p.m.
The Fort Campbell Public Affairs Office released a press release on Thursday morning stating that the crew members were piloting two HH60 Blackhawk helicopters in a routine training mission at the time of the incident. The status of the crew members is not known at this time. The command’s current focus is on the care of servicemembers as well as their families.
Brig. Gen. John Lubas, the 101st Airborne deputy commander, noted that the aircraft landed in a field near a residential area. He reported that one helicopter had five people aboard and the other had four.
Photographs taken at the site of the crash showed a ball of flames. The East Golden Pond Fire Department was called to extinguish this fire.
Andy Beshear, Democrat Governor of Kentucky, confirmed the news via Twitter.
“We’ve got some tough news out of Fort Campbell, with early reports of a helicopter crash and fatalities are expected. @Kystatepolice, @KentuckyEM, and local officials are responding. We will share more information as available. Please pray for all those affected,” Beshear wrote.
Thursday morning Beshear went to Fort Campbell to support service personnel and their families, and to give a press conference about the incident.
Beshear stated, “We’re going do what we always did, we’re gonna wrap our arms around this families, and we’re gonna be there for the weeks, days, and beyond.”
Officials noted that while the aircraft in the collision were used for medical evacuation, the crash didn’t occur during drills.
Officials stated that this was a training step and they were flying a multiship formation with two ships, and night vision goggles at night, during Thursday’s press conference.
Officials from the military are still working to notify the families of the service members. Fort Campbell officials stated that they can’t release any additional information until the next of kin has been notified. They confirmed, however, that all of the victims were located at Fort Campbell.
Officials in the military are still trying to determine the cause of the collision.
Officials claimed that the helicopters were fitted with black boxes similar to those found on larger aircraft. They hope this will help them uncover more information about the cause of the crash. There were no casualties reported as the service personnel aboard the aircraft didn’t radio for help prior to the incident.