This story has been updated with a new article: Army grounds training flights following midair helicopter crash in Interior Alaska that killed 3 soldiers and injured 1
Three U.S. Army soldiers were killed and one was injured Thursday after two Apache helicopters from Fort Wainwright collided in midair while returning from a training mission, according to Army officials.
Each of the two AH-64 Apache helicopters had two soldiers on board, an Army Alaska spokesperson said. They were from the 11th Airborne Division’s 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment at Fort Wainwright in the Fairbanks area, Army officials said.
Two of the soldiers were declared dead at the scene, the 11th Airborne Division said in a statement Thursday evening, and a third died while being taken to a Fairbanks hospital. The sole survivor is being treated for injuries in Fairbanks, according to the statement.
The Army did not identify the soldiers who died in the crash, and said that information will be withheld for 24 hours after next of kin have been notified.
It wasn’t immediately clear what may have caused the crash, which is being investigated by a team from the Army Combat Readiness Center at Fort Novosel, Alabama, according to the Army’s statement.
“This is an incredible loss for these soldiers’ families, their fellow soldiers, and for the division,” said Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, commanding general of the 11th Airborne Division. “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 Emergency Assistance Center at Fort Wainwright, reachable at 907-353-4452, was activated “to provide support for families, friends and fellow soldiers of those involved in the crash,” according to the statement.
Healy is about 100 road miles south of Fairbanks, and about 250 miles north of Anchorage.
In February, an AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed during takeoff after it stopped to refuel at the Talkeetna Airport, injuring two soldiers. That aircraft was part of a group of four Apache helicopters that were traveling from Fort Wainwright, near Fairbanks, to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson for training.
In March, nine soldiers were killed in Kentucky when two Army Black Hawk helicopters crashed while conducting a nighttime training exercise.