2 U.S. Army helicopters crash in Alaska, killing 3 soldiers : NPR
Cameron Roxberry/US Army via AP
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Two US Army helicopters crashed Thursday in Alaska while returning from a training flight, killing three soldiers and injuring a fourth.
Two of the soldiers died in the crash near Healy, Alaska, and a third died en route to a hospital in Fairbanks. The fourth soldier was being treated in hospital for injuries, the Army said in a statement.
The names of those killed were being withheld until next of kin could be notified, the Army said.
Each AH-64 Apache helicopter was carrying two people at the time of the crash, John Pennell, a spokesman for US Army Alaska, said earlier Thursday.
The helicopters were from the 1st Attack Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment at Fort Wainwright, based near Fairbanks.
“This is an incredible loss for the families of these soldiers, their fellow soldiers, and for the division,” Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, commanding general of the 11th Airborne Division, said in the statement of -Army. “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 Army said the cause of the crash was under investigation and more details will be released when they become available.
The crash is the second accident involving military helicopters in Alaska this year.
In February, two soldiers were injured when an Apache helicopter rolled after taking off from Talkeetna. The plane was one of four traveling to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage from Fort Wainwright.
In March, nine soldiers were killed when two US Army Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopters crashed during a routine night training exercise about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northeast of Fort Campbell , Kentucky.
Healy is located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Denali National Park and Preserve, or about 250 miles (400 kilometers) north of Anchorage.
Healy is a community of about 1,000 people located on the Parks Highway in the interior region of Alaska. It’s a popular place for people to spend the night while visiting the nearby park, which is home to Denali, the continent’s highest mountain.
Healy is also famous for the town closest to the bus that was formerly abandoned in the backcountry and was popularized by the book “Into the Wild” and the movie of the same name. The bus was removed and taken to Fairbanks in 2020.