Brig. Gen. John Lubas address the press in regards to the Black Hawk helicopter crash, Thursday, March 30, 2023, outside of Fort Campbell in Christian County, Ky. There have been three U.S. military helicopter crashes and a rollover recorded so far this year, in Alabama, Kentucky, and Alaska. Two of the crashes involved Black Hawk helicopters; the third crash and the rollover involved Apache helicopters. (Liam Kennedy /The Tennessean)

Brig. Gen. John Lubas address the press in regards to the Black Hawk helicopter crash, Thursday, March 30, 2023, outside of Fort Campbell in Christian County, Ky. There have been three U.S. military helicopter crashes and a rollover recorded so far this year, in Alabama, Kentucky, and Alaska. Two of the crashes involved Black Hawk helicopters; the third crash and the rollover involved Apache helicopters. (Liam Kennedy /The Tennessean)

Recent U.S. military helicopter crashes in training missions

There have been three U.S. military helicopter crashes and a rollover recorded so far this year.

There have been three U.S. military helicopter crashes and a rollover recorded so far this year, in Alabama, Kentucky, and Alaska. Military officials are still investigating the causes of the crashes, which involved Black Hawk or Apache helicopters. A total of 14 soldiers have died and three have been injured, all in training missions. Separately, a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report of Army and Air National accidents from fiscal years 2012 and 2021 made eight recommendations, including improvements in risk analysis pilot training.

The collision of two helicopters in Alaska was the latest in a series of military helicopter crashes this year whose causes are still being investigated.

The crashes and a rollover involved Black Hawk and Apache helicopters on training missions. A total of 14 soldiers have died and three have been injured.

Black Hawk and Apache helicopters are among the models analyzed in a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report of Army and Air National Guard accidents from fiscal years 2012 through 2021. Among its eight recommendations to military leaders, GAO advised they ensure that National Guard helicopter units continuously update risk management worksheets and remove barriers to pilot training.

Alaska

Two U.S. Army helicopters collided and crashed Thursday in Alaska while returning from a training flight, killing three soldiers and injuring a fourth.

Two of the soldiers died at the scene of the daytime crash near Healy, and a third died on the way to a hospital in Fairbanks. A fourth soldier was being treated at a hospital for injuries, the Army said in a statement.

Each AH-64 Apache helicopter was carrying two people at the time of the crash, said John Pennell, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Alaska.

Also in Alaska, two soldiers were injured on Feb. 5 when a military helicopter was involved in a rollover accident in Talkeetna, officials said.

The Army AH-64D Apache helicopter was damaged in the accident, which occurred when the helicopter was taking off.

The Apache was one of four from the 25th Attack Battalion at Fort Wainwright, near Fairbanks, traveling to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage for training. The four helicopters stopped in Talkeetna to refuel.

Talkeetna is located about 110 miles (180 kilometers) north of Anchorage.

Kentucky

Two Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopters crashed during a routine nighttime training exercise in southwestern Kentucky on March 29, killing all nine soldiers aboard.

One helicopter had five people aboard and the other had four. The helicopters crashed in a field near a residential area with no injuries on the ground.

The two Black Hawks were flying during a training exercise and the pilots were using night-vision goggles, Army officials said. The accident occurred during flying and not during the course of a medical evacuation drill, said Brig. Gen. John Lubas, the 101st Airborne deputy commander.

Officials said April 4 that a U.S. Army aviation safety team found the flight data recorders from the helicopters. These might help determine the cause of the crash.

The 101st Airborne confirmed the crash was about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of Fort Campbell.

Alabama

A Black Hawk helicopter from the Tennessee National Guard crashed in Alabama during a flight-training mission on Feb. 15, killing two crew members. The helicopter crashed around 3 p.m. and caught fire just outside of Huntsville along Alabama Highway 53. No one on the ground was hurt.

The Tennessee National Guard said in a statement that the helicopter was approaching the Huntsville Executive Airport, “when the aircraft rapidly descended and impacted the ground.”

Military officials said the pilots were both experienced aviators with more than a dozen years of military service apiece.

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