Nine people dead after two US army Black Hawk helicopters crash during training

Nine people died after two US Army Black Hawk helicopters crashed during a training mission in Kentucky on Wednesday night, military officials said.

Crew members were flying two HH60 Blackhawk helicopters during a routine training mission before the crash at Fort Campbell, a military base, at roughly 10pm local time on Wednesday (3am on Thursday UK time).

The 101st Airborne confirmed the crash, saying on Twitter that it resulted in “several casualties”.

Kentucky governor Andy Beshear said on Twitter fatalities were expected and the Kentucky State Police and the state’s Division of Emergency Management were responding to the accident.

Mr Beshear wrote: “We’ve got some tough news out of Fort Campbell, with early reports of a helicopter crash and fatalities are expected.

“Please pray for all those affected.”

A US army soldier at the scene has confirmed there have been multiple deaths, local radio station WKDZ reports.

A nearby resident told the radio station he heard a “pop” and “loud bang”, before “everything shut down all of a sudden”.

The crash site in Trigg County, Kentucky (via REUTERS)
The crash site in Trigg County, Kentucky (via REUTERS)

Local news outlet WKYT report that the two helicopters crashed in a field and no residential homes were damaged. People in the area were asked to evacuate.

Nick Tomaszewski, who lives nearby, told WKYT that he saw a large explosion in the sky which looked like “a firework went off”.

“The entire tree line lit up,” he added.

The US Army Fort Campbell statement said: “The command is currently focused on caring for the servicemembers and their families.”

The helicopters involved were from the 101st Airborne Division which is known as the “Screaming Eagles”.

The incident is under investigation. No weather warnings or watches were issued for Fort Campbell at the time of the crash.

Debris from a helicopter (via REUTERS)
Debris from a helicopter (via REUTERS)

The military base at Fort Campbell is located near the Kentucky and Tennessee border. It has been used as a US Army installation since 1942.

It is home to several airborne, armoured and infantry units and has grown to become one the US Army’s most important permanent installations.