Two US Army helicopters crash in Alaska, killing 3 soldiers

Two U.S. military helicopters returning from a training flight crashed Thursday in Alaska with four people aboard, killing three soldiers and injuring a fourth, military officials said.

The Army’s 11th Airborne Division confirmed the deaths late Thursday, saying two AH-64 Apache helicopters crashed near Healy, Alaska. Two of the four soldiers were pronounced dead at the scene, and a third died en route to a hospital in Fairbanks, it said.

“This is an incredible loss for the families of these Soldiers, their fellow Soldiers and the unit,” Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, the unit’s commanding general, said in a statement.

The Army said it was not releasing the names of the dead pending notification of their families, adding that an investigation into the incident was underway. 11th Airborne Division spokesman John M. Bennell said he did not yet have details on the injured soldier’s condition.

The helicopters belonged to the 25th Aviation Regiment’s 1st Assault Reconnaissance Battalion at Fort Wainwright, officials said.

The crash is one of several recent crashes involving US military helicopters. Last month, nine soldiers were killed when two Black Hawk helicopters collided during a routine training mission near the Kentucky-Tennessee border. In February, two soldiers were injured when an Apache helicopter crashed after takeoff in Alaska.

In 2019, three Army National Guardsmen were killed when the Black Hawk helicopter carrying them crashed during a test mission in Minnesota. In 2015, a military helicopter crashed into the waters of Santa Rosa Sound, Fla., in a thick blanket of fog, killing 11 people.

Other branches of the US military, including the Navy and National Guard, have reported similar incidents.

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Between 2012 and 2021, nearly 300 National Guard helicopters crashed during non-combat flights. Central Government Investigators, who last month recommended the National Guard reevaluate its security protocols. In June, the US Navy grounded the aircraft temporarily to conduct safety reviews.

Mike Ives Contributed report.

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