Army investigates fatal helicopter crash in Colorado
August 20, 2009
LEADVILLE, Colo. – The Army is investigating the crash of a Special Operations helicopter on Colorado’s second-highest mountain that killed two people, injured one and left another missing.
The Black Hawk helicopter from Fort Campbell, Ky., was on a training exercise when it crashed at about 2 p.m. Wednesday about 400 feet from the summit of 14,421-foot Mount Massive, investigators said.
Lt. Col. John Clearwater of the Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., would not say Thursday whether the missing person had been found. Mount Massive is 85 miles southwest of Denver.
He wouldn’t comment on the search, but said an investigation was under way.
The Lake County, Colo., Sheriff’s Department said the injured person was flown to a Denver hospital. The person’s condition wasn’t immediately known.
No names were released.
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Sheriff’s spokeswoman Betty Benson told The Gazette in Colorado Springs on Wednesday that the two who died were soldiers from Fort Campbell.
Clearwater wouldn’t say whether the other two aboard were military personnel.
The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately released. The Denver Post reported the Black Hawk’s flight recorder was recovered.
Officials at Fort Campbell and at the Lake County Sheriff’s Department declined to comment Thursday.
The helicopter was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) at Fort Campbell. Soldiers in the 160th are known as “night stalkers” because they specialize in nighttime operations, according to the military.
The regiment’s Web site says the 160th has carried out combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the Army didn’t elaborate on the purpose of the Colorado maneuvers.
The MH-60 Black Hawk is frequently used for infiltration missions and to bring supplies to special operations forces in the field, according to the unit’s Web site. The helicopter is also used for rescue and medical evacuations, and an armed version is used for escort and fire support.