Two U.S. Army HH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopters crashed late on March 29 during a routine training mission in Kentucky, killing nine soldiers, according to military officials.
All of the crew members—four soldiers in one helicopter and five in the other—died in the crash, Brig. Gen. John Lubas, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) deputy commander, told reporters.
“I would like to express our deepest sympathies to the families of our fallen soldiers,” he said.
The helicopters from the 101st Airborne Division, the Army’s only air assault division, crashed at about 10 p.m. in Trigg County, Kentucky, according to the Fort Campbell Public Affairs Office. The crash took place about 25 miles northwest of Fort Campbell, a military base on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee.
“We know a lot about loss in Kentucky, especially these last few years,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said during a March 30 news conference. “We’re going to do what we always do. We’re going to wrap our arms around these families.
“We are blessed to live in the freest country in the history of planet Earth,” he added. “But we must remember that that freedom relies on those who are willing to serve, some of which pay the ultimate price.”
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement he’s saddened by the “tragic loss.”
The HH-60 is a variant of the Black Hawk helicopter that is designed to provide support for a range of military operations, including medical evacuations and air assault.
The Fort Campbell Public Affairs Office said more information about the incident would be released as it becomes available.
This is a developing story.
This article was updated to reflect incoming information about the casualty count and additional comments by Beshear.