3 soldiers dead after Army attack helicopters collide and crash in Alaska

Three soldiers were killed and a fourth was injured after the Army Apache helicopters they were in collided in mid-air and crashed in Alaska on Thursday, the military said.

The incident happened as the two AH-64 Apache helicopters were returning to Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks after a training flight, the 11th Airborne Division said.

The helicopters were from the 1st Attack Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment based at Fort Wainwright. The names of the soldiers were not immediately released, pending notification of next of kin.

“This is an incredible loss for these soldiers’ families, their fellow soldiers, and for the division,” Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, commanding general of the 11th Airborne Division, said in a statement. “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.”  

Two soldiers were dead at the scene of the crash, and the third died en route to the hospital, the military said.

The injured soldier was being treated at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, it said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. The crash happened near Healy, a community around 80 miles southwest of Fort Wainwright.

Fort Wainwright, an Army base in Fairbanks, was established in 1938. It is home to several units, including the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team and the 25th Infantry Division.

The AH-64 is an attack helicopter that has a crew of two — a pilot and a co-pilot gunner — according to the Army’s website.

In March, nine soldiers were killed in Kentucky when two Army Black Hawk helicopters crashed in a training exercise west of Fort Campbell.

Lindsey Pipia contributed.

source: nbcnews.com