Very sad news from Kentucky as two Army Blackhawk helicopters apparently collided mid-air while doing night training. No survivors have been reported, with all nine servicemen declared dead at the scene.
The helicopters belonged to the 101st Airborne Division, “Screaming Eagles,” stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Apparently, the two helos were doing night training with night vision goggles in what was called “a routine training mission”.
Two Army Blackhawk helicopters collided in the air above Kentucky homes during late-night training exercises, killing all nine soldiers onboard, military officials said Thursday.
The two 101st Airborne Division helicopters crashed during “a routine training mission” using night-vision goggles over Trigg County at around 10 p.m., Fort Campbell officials said.
All nine soldiers onboard — five on one of the choppers and four on the other — were all pronounced dead at the crash scene.
According to sources, the MEDEVAC helicopters were flying Night Vision Goggle training before colliding. It is unknown until after the formal investigation is concluded, but pilot and crew error is ultimately the likely cause. The Night Vision training is extremely dangerous and requires everyone on board to be medically, physically, and mentally fit. Even the slightest miscalculation can result in tragedy.
9 soldiers killed in helo crash at Fort Campbell while on a training mission. https://t.co/bSbJf5Zj90
— HDX Soldier- ANTICOM (@reHDuXVet) March 30, 2023
Thankfully, no civilians were injured as a result of the crash.
“Despite our losses, we were lucky because they were able to land in an open field across from a residential area,” said Brig. Gen. John Lubas, deputy commander of the division known as the “Screaming Eagles.”
“So thankfully there were no additional casualties or injuries” among local residents, he said.“This is a truly tragic loss,” Lubas said of the fallen soldiers.
“Our number one priority is caring for the families and the soldiers,” he said, sending “thoughts and prayers.”
“It’s a heavy day for the Army,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth also told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Eyewitnesses had various reports.
One witness, Trigg County Jailer James Hughes, told local radio station WKDZ that had been flying “pretty low” over local homes when they collided.
“All of a sudden, as soon as they got over the house, something popped — loud bang and everything shut down all of a sudden,” he recalled.
Nick Tomaszewski, who lives about a mile from the scene, said he saw two helicopters flying over his house moments before the crash.
“For whatever reason last night my wife and I were sitting there looking out on the back deck and I said ‘Wow, those two helicopters look low and they look kind of close to one another tonight,’” he said.
The helicopters flew over and looped back around and moments later “we saw what looked like a firework went off in the sky.”
“All of the lights in their helicopter went out. It was like they just poofed … and then we saw a huge glow like a fireball,” Tomaszewski said.
The eyewitness reports are shocking. While conditions were reported as clear, the exercise was still nighttime, requiring night vision goggles. Clearly, something went horribly wrong. Hopefully, after the investigation, the families can begin to heal, and the Army can take measures to make sure a similar tragedy doesn’t happen again.
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