9 people dead after Blackhawk military helicopters crash in Western Kentucky
The helicopters were flying in multi-ship formation under night-vision goggles when the crash occurred, officials said.
Nine U.S. military members have died after a crash involving two military helicopters in Western Kentucky on Wednesday, according to officials with the military.
The crash happened in Trigg County and was reported at approximately 10 p.m., according to military officials. It involved two HH60 Black Hawk Helicopters that were performing a routine training mission, military officials said.
“Today is a tough and tragic day for Kentucky, for Fort Campbell, for the 101st,” said Gov. Andy Beshear, who was in attendance for a press conference outside the 101st Airborne Division.
The Marshall County Rescue Squad, which assisted at the scene of the incident, reported that nine soldiers were killed in the crash. The number of deaths was further confirmed by military officials during a press conference Thursday morning.
“The command is currently focused on caring for its servicemembers and their families,” officials said.
Soldiers were conducting training
The helicopters were flying in multi-ship formation under night-vision goggles when the crash occurred, according to Brig. Gen. John Lucas, deputy commander for 101st Airborne Division. The Black Hawk aircraft were a form of medical evacuation helicopters.
Lucas said they don’t believe the helicopters were performing medical evacuation drills when the crash occurred. There were no signals for distress prior to the crash.
Five soldiers occupied one helicopter while four other soldiers occupied the second helicopter. Lucas said that’s routine for the training exercise they were conducting. There were no survivors from the crash, Lucas said, and the crash happened in an open field.
All of the victims were based in Fort Campbell with the 101st Airborne Division, according to Lucas. The identities of the victims were still withheld Thursday morning, as the Army was still working to notify family members. Lucas said no one was transported to the hospital from the scene of the crash.
Beshear said he would be in Fort Campbell to support service members and their families.
“We will share more information as available. Please pray for all those affected,” Beshear said.
Since 2018, there have been an average of seven aviation flight mishaps per year, according to the Army. An average of five servicemen per year are killed in those incidents.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said he was “devastated” to learn about the helicopter crash.
“My team is in contact with the Army and authorities on the ground. Please pray for our servicemembers and their families as we learn more,” McConnell said in a tweet.
Kentucky State Police and Kentucky Emergency Management responded to the scene, according to Beshear. State police said they’re working with U.S. Army officials to assess the scene.
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