Army copter crashes on Mount Massive
August 20, 2009
LEADVILLE, Colo. – An Army MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter out of Fort Campbell, Ky., crashed on Mount Massive about 2 p.m. Wednesday, killing two people and injuring a third, according to Betty Benson, spokeswoman for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Benson said a fourth person was missing and was being sought by search teams at the site.
The helicopter was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) – known as the Night Stalkers – and was conducting a routine training mission, Army officials said.
The crash occurred near the 14,200-foot level of the 14,421-foot mountain, which is about 15 miles southwest of Leadville. The crash site is in the San Isabel National Forest.
Two Flight for Life helicopters landed at the crash scene, and one of the helicopters was taking the survivor to St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver.
Benson said the Black Hawk went down in a meadow on the east side of the mountain.
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Rescue crews were able to drive up the mountain but had to walk some distance into the meadow, she said. She said that both Flight for Life helicopters had to land some distance from the crash and their crews walked to the helicopter.
Benson said the helicopter’s flight recorder has been recovered.
The crash was first reported by U.S. Forest Service teams cutting trails through the mountain area. The teams heard the crash but did not see it.
Major Brandon Bissell, spokesman for Fort Campbell, said, “Recovery operations are ongoing.”
The MH-60 version of the Black Hawk is designed to conduct overt and or covert missions, and to resupply special-operations forces, according to the Army.
In March, a Black Hawk military helicopter carrying three members of the Alaska Army National Guard crashed in a snowstorm on Monarch Pass, west of Salida.
All three people on board – the pilot, the co-pilot and the crew chief – walked away from the crash. The helicopter was headed to Idaho after maintenance at Fort Carson.
In February 1998, an Army UH-60 Black Hawk crashed near the Continental Divide above Turquoise Lake about eight miles west of Leadville.
All six on board survived. The helicopter was one of two from Fort Carson performing contour maneuvers – following the contour of the terrain – when it struck a static power line above 10,000 feet along Busk Creek.