According to a U.S. Army statement the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter came down during a routine training mission, killing four crew members.The accident occurred on Monday evening at the Fort Hood army base in Texas. Military officials announced that the crew were part of Division West, First Army, but the names of the deceased servicemen will not be released until 24 hours after their families have been notified, according to UPI.
Fort Hood Black Hawk helicopter crash leaves four U.S. servicemen dead
At some point after 5:49 p.m. Central time the helicopter crashed while undertaking a routine training flight. The crash site is situated in the northeast section of the Fort Hood range, which is one of the U.S. Army’s largest bases.
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“After an extensive search, emergency crews located the scene of the incident and are reporting the four crew members found deceased,” according to a statement released by Fort Hood Public Affairs.’
Rescue crews found the wreckage following an extensive search and the U.S. Army is still investigating the cause of the crash. “They were on a routine training mission at the time,” the Army base said. “… The cause of the crash is unknown at this time.”
Black Hawk helicopters involved in multiple incidents in 2015
Fort Hood is located in Killeen, Texas, in between the cities of Dallas and San Antonio. It was founded in order to train tank destroyers during World War II and is currently the largest active duty armored post in the United States Army.
On the same day that the Black Hawk crashed in Texas, another U.S. helicopter came down in South Korea. The AH-64 Apache was flying south of the South Korean capital of Seoul when it crashed, killing two crew members.
Earlier this year another UH-60 Black Hawk was involved in a crash that killed 11 soldiers. The aircraft was taking part in an amphibious landing exercise off the coast of Florida when it crashed while attempting to land in thick fog.
Lockheed Martin acquires Black Hawk manufacturer for $9 billion
This August another 7 service members were injured when a Black Hawk crash landed near the island of Okinawa, Japan. The litany of incidents involving Black Hawk helicopters continued in September when a crash during a training mission south of Denver left two soldiers injured.
Sikorsky, the company responsible for developing and building Black Hawk helicopters, has been sued by the families of three U.S. Army soldiers who died in another crash that took place in Georgia in 2014. A judge is yet to rule on the case.
An investigation into the Florida crash found that the pilots disobeyed orders by flying in conditions that they had been warned were dangerous. Manufacturer Sikorsky was not found to be at fault for the deaths of the servicemen.
Lockheed Martin completed its $9 billion acquisition of Sikorsky last week, and the new company is working on aircraft that could push autonomous flight to the next level. Sikorsky has developed an robotic Black Hawk helicopter which passed an autonomous flight test last month, and Lockheed has also developed its own K-MAX autonomous helicopter.
Both Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky are transforming robotic flight for U.S. Army military applications, and could soon do so for civilian customers. If robotic helicopters can be safely developed to carry servicemen it could reduce casualties caused by human error.