Probe of deadly Black Hawk crash underway in Kentucky

A special military investigative team is on the scene of a deadly crash involving two Black Hawk helicopters that killed nine people in southwestern Kentucky

Dylan Lovan
Friday 31 March 2023 18:37 BST

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


A special military investigative team is on the scene of a deadly crash involving two Black Hawk helicopters that killed nine people in southwestern Kentucky, but weather conditions have slowed the early work, Army officials said.

The team of about eight members from Fort Rucker, Alabama, arrived at the scene around 7 p.m. Thursday night but rain and wind have slowed their efforts, said Dawn Grimes, a public information officer at Fort Campbell.

“The investigation is active but it has been hampered by weather,” Grimes said Friday.

Two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed near Fort Campbell on Wednesday night during a medical evacuation training exercise, killing all nine soldiers aboard the two aircrafts. The crash occurred in Trigg County, Kentucky, about 30 mile (48 kilometers) northwest of the Army post that is home to the 101st Airborne Division. The helicopters crashed in a field near a residential area, but the Army has not said if the two Black Hawks collided in the air before going to the ground.

Army officials said they expected to publicly release the identities of the soldiers by Friday evening.

The two Black Hawks were flying together during a training exercise at night, Army officials said. The pilots were using night-vision goggles. 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.

A similar crash involving two Black Hawks occurred at Fort Campbell in 1996, when two of the aircraft clipped propellers during a training exercise. Five soldiers were killed and more than two dozen injured. That was the last crash involving more than one helicopter at Fort Campbell, an Army spokesperson said.

The last deadly aviation accident at Fort Campbell occurred in 2018, when an Apache helicopter crashed during training, killing two soldiers on board.

The Black Hawk helicopters have something similar to the black boxes on passenger planes, which records the performance of aircrafts in flight and are used by investigators to analyze crashes. Officials said they are hoping that device yields some information about the cause of Wednesday's crash.

The Black Hawk helicopter is a critical workhorse for the U.S. Army and is used in security, transport, medical evacuations, search and rescue and other missions. The helicopters are known to many people from the 2001 movie “Black Hawk Down,” which is about a 1993 battle in Somalia.

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