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9 dead as US Army helicopters collide

By Christopher Kirkman
|
April 1, 2023

Multiple military helicopters crashed Wednesday night near Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with nine fatalities.

The incident included two Blackhawk helicopters involved in a training exercise, according to the military base.

Cause unknown

"Army Brigadier General John Lubas, the division's deputy commanding officer for operations, said little was known so far about why the helicopters came down and he acknowledged he was not even sure whether they crashed into each other," Reuters reported.

"Lubas said an aircraft safety investigations team from Fort Rucker in Alabama would arrive later on Thursday to review data from onboard computers, which he said were similar to the black boxes in commercial aircraft," it added.

Training mission turns tragic

"The crewmembers were flying two HH60 Blackhawk helicopters during a routine training mission when the incident occurred. The status of the crew members are unknown at this time," Brendalyn Carpenter-Player, the director of the Fort Campbell Public Affairs, told Fox News Digital, in the initial report on Thursday.

"The command is currently focused on caring for the servicemembers and their families," the statement added.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) traveled to Fort Campbell on Thursday as details were released.

"We’ve got some tough news out of Fort Campbell, with early reports of a helicopter crash and fatalities are expected. @kystatepolice, @KentuckyEM and local officials are responding. We will share more information as available," he wrote. "Please pray for all those affected."

"Today is a tragic day for Kentucky, Fort Campbell and for the 101st. The nine soldiers we lost are children of God," the governor later updated.

"They will be mourned and missed by their families and communities. Let us pray for all those affected and let them know they're loved and they are not alone," he added.

One family's story

Family members have identified one of the victims as Staff Sgt. Caleb Gore, 25, from Wayne County, North Carolina.

“He was a loving and wonderful child, everything a father could possibly wish for,” Tim Gore, his dad, said in a tribute. “He couldn’t wait to join the Army. (He) enlisted before he graduated. He loved the army. (He) become an airborne medic and studied to get in ‘in-flight certification’ so he could do medical intervention in the helicopter as he performed the rescue."

The crash comes as military safety has become an issue in recent months following multiple aircraft crashes during training exercises. More details will soon be released with the impact felt worldwide among American military personnel and their families. The nation also mourns the loss of the military members who have given their all in service to the country.