Catastrophe Strikes US Military After Explosion Reported
Every branch of the military uses specialized equipment, whether it’s firearms, a tank, a ship, or a helicopter, to carry…
Every branch of the military uses specialized equipment, whether it’s firearms, a tank, a ship, or a helicopter, to carry out missions. In order to prepare for them, they have to conduct routine training exercises long before they’re ever sent out into the field. Tragically, sometimes these training sessions go horribly wrong. Such was the case recently in Kentucky.
On the evening of Wednesday, March 29, members of the 101st Airborne Division were training approximately 40 miles from Kentucky’s Fort Campbell Army Base when an explosion rocked the air. It turns out that two HH60 Blackhawk helicopters collided mid-air, killing all nine service members onboard. The crash happened around 10 p.m.
CBS News reported that one helicopter had five service members onboard, while the other had four, a setup that Deputy Commander of the division, Brigadier general John Lubas, said is “fairly typical.” The nine crew members were practicing medical evacuation drills using night-vision goggles and were said to be practicing what’s called a “multi-ship formation” during the training exercise, but that’s not what caused the accident. Rather, it appears they collided while simply flying, though the Army isn’t exactly sure what triggered the crash.
The training exercises aren’t unusual, they take place most nights. Nick Tomaszewski, who lives near the site of the crash, says he regularly watches them. That night, however, he noticed two anomalies: the Blackhawks were flying low, and they were much closer together than normal. He reported what he says looked like a “firework” going off and then a big “fireball,” according to the Associated Press.
The US Army has launched an aircraft safety team to investigate the incident and has not yet released the names of the deceased, pending notification of the next of kin.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (D) expressed his condolences and said he, along with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R), was ready to support the families.