OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 8:08 AM – Friday, April 28, 2023
Two United States Army helicopters returning from a training exercise collided into one another in Alaska resulting in the death of three soldiers and a fourth sustaining life threatening injuries on Thursday.
The two AH-64 Apache helicopters were attached to the Army’s 11th Airborne Division, the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment at Fort Wainwright. The helicopters collided and went down near Healy, Alaska a remote area over 200 miles north of Anchorage.
According to military officials, each of the helicopters had two soldiers on board. Two soldiers had been declared dead on the scene, and a third had died while being transported to the hospital. The fourth soldier remains in Fairbanks Memorial hospital being treated for life threatening injuries.
“This is an incredible loss for these soldiers’ families, their fellow soldiers, and for the division,” Major General Brian Eifler, the Commanding General of the division, said in a statement. “Our hearts and prayers go out to their families, friends and loved ones, and we are making the full resources of the Army available to support them. “The Fort Wainwright community is one of the tightest military communities I’ve seen in my 32 years of service. I have no doubt they will pull together during this exceptional time of need and provide comfort to our families of our fallen.”
Officials from the Army Combat Readiness Center, Fort Novotel Alabama, are investigating the cause of the crash, and more information will be released as it becomes available.
According to Army officials, the families of the deceased and injured have been notified, however the identities of the soldiers is being withheld for 24 hours until the notification of next of kin is completed.
Federal government investigators are urging the National Guard to reassess its safety protocols regarding helicopter flights due to the fact that there have been almost 300 National Guard helicopter crashes in noncombat flights between 2012 and 2021.
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