A military investigation is underway and nine soldiers are dead after two Blackhawks from Fort Campbell crashed on Wednesday night in Trigg County, according to Fort Campbell officials.
Fort Campbell officials confirmed two 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) helicopters were involved in a crash and confirmed all nine crew members died as a result. The command is currently focused on caring for the servicemembers and their families.
The crash happened just before 10 p.m. on Wednesday near Maple Grove Road and Lancaster Road. The crewmembers were flying two HH60 Blackhawk helicopters during a routine training mission when the incident occurred.
During a press conference, Fort Campbell officials said there were five soldiers on one Blackhawk and four in the other. The investigation into what caused the crash is ongoing.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear called this “a tragic day for Kentucky” during the press conference at Fort Campbell, adding that resources will be available for the families.
After news broke on Wednesday night, Governor Beshear sent a message via Twitter asking for prayers.
“We’ve got some tough news out Fort Campbell, with early reports of a helicopter crash and fatalities are expected,” Beshear said.
Kentucky State Police (KSP) is at the scene assisting the military investigation, along with several other agencies.
KSP said the two Blackhawks crashed in a field area and no residential damage is being reported. A perimeter was established around the debris field and the few residents in the area were asked to evacuate.
Nick Tomaszewski lives in south Cadiz and often observes helicopters from Fort Campbell pass overhead, but he said the two that flew by on Wednesday night seem out of the ordinary.
“So it’s nothing out of the norm to see helicopters, we see them all the time, but tonight there were two that were coming kind of straight up over our house, headed straight northbound, Tomaszewski said. “I told my wife, ‘wow, those look really close tonight’ for whatever reason…about a minute later, they were coming across and there was a large explosion in the sky almost look like a firework went off. And then the entire tree line lit up.”
Law enforcement, military vehicles, and ambulances filed in and out of the perimeter Thursday morning. An American flag could be seen through the side window of one emergency vehicle draped over where a gurney would be placed inside.
Fort Campbell officials held a press conference at the base to provide an update on the deadly crash. Governor Beshear was on-hand and offered words of encouragement to the deceased soldiers’ families. Brigadier General John Lucas says the two helicopters went down in an open field across from a residential area, avoiding additional casualties. An aircraft safety team from Fort Rucker, Alabama is traveling to Kentucky to investigate the crash and determine what exactly happened.
Story provided by (WVLT/WSMV/FOX)