FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Two U.S. Army HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters collided during a training exercise Wednesday evening in Kentucky. Officials report that nine service members perished in the crash that occurred in Trigg County, near Fort Campbell. Few details have been released about the midair collision, which occurred about 10:00 p.m. The helicopters are part of the 101st Airborne Division, the Daily Wire reported.
“The crewmembers were flying two HH60 Blackhawk helicopters during a routine training mission when the incident occurred. The status of the crew members are unknown at this time,” the 101st Airborne Division announced in a preliminary statement. “The command is currently focused on caring for the servicemembers and their families.”
A short time later, an Army official told ABC News that everyone aboard both choppers died in the tragic training accident.
The helicopters were “flying a multi-ship formation under night vision goggles,” officials said. One aircraft had five crew members aboard, the other had four.
Brigadier General Lubas said the helicopters “have something very similar to the black boxes that we see on the larger aircraft, and we’re hopeful that that will provide quite a bit of information on what occurred.”
Early Thursday morning, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said that he would be going to Fort Campbell in response to the crash.
“This morning I will be traveling to Fort Campbell to support our troops and their families after last night’s tragic incident. More information will be released later this morning,” Beshear said.
The Kentucky State Police said the crash occurred in a wooded area. No one on the ground was injured.
Local resident Nick Tomaszewski told WSMV that he heard the crash happen after he saw the helicopters fly by.
“So it’s nothing out of the norm to see helicopters, we see them all the time, but tonight there were two that were coming kind of straight up over our house, headed straight northbound,” Tomaszewski said. “I told my wife, ‘wow, those look really close tonight’ for whatever reason … about a minute later, they were coming across and there was a large explosion in the sky almost look like a firework went off. And then the entire tree line lit up.”
In February, a Black Hawk helicopter went down in Huntsville, Alabama. Two crew members assigned to the Tennessee National Guard died in the crash.