For a second time in 2023, the Fort Campbell community and the Military community are mourning the loss of Soldiers due to a fatal helicopter accident. On Saturday, five members of the Special Operations community were killed in a Black Hawk crash in the Mediterranean Sea during a training mission on Veteran’s Day. The Soldiers were later identified as members of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, also known as the Nightstalkers.
As previously mentioned, this is the second MH-60 crash for Fort Campbell with fatalities in 2023 alone, and according to reports filed on Aviation-Safety.Net, this is the ninth incident since Jan 2022 in connection with an MH-60 Black Hawk.
MH-60 accidents with fatalities Since 2019
Here is a recap of MH-60 accidents with fatalities:
- Nov 2023: Five members of the Special Operations community were killed in a Black Hawk crash in the Mediterranean Sea during a training mission.
- Mar 2023: Nine US Service Members were killed when two HH-60 Black Hawk Helicopters crashed in southwestern Kentucky. No survivors made this the deadliest helicopter training accident since 2015.
- Feb 2023: Two Army National Guard Warrant Officers died in a Black Hawk crash near Huntsville, Al.
- Aug 2021: Two Army Soldiers died, and three were injured, when a Black Hawk crashed during training off the coast of California.
- Feb 2021: Three Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers were killed outside of Boise, Idaho when a UH-60 crashed.
- Jan 2021: A New York Army National Guard UH-60 crashed during training, killing all three Soldiers on board. Reports of a “sputtering sound” were called in to 911 before the crash occurred.
- Nov 2020: Five Army Soldiers were killed during a peacekeeping mission in Egypt. On board the UH-60 was also a French Service Member and a Czech Service Member, who were also both killed. Reports stated a ‘technical failure’ caused the crash.
- Dec 2019: Three Minnesota National Guard Soldiers died when a Minnesota Army National Guard Black Hawk crashed shortly after takeoff for a routine maintenance test flight.
According to an Army Safety Report in 2021, in the five year period from FY16 through FY20, which logged more than 1.7 million flight hours, there were 160 H-60 class mishaps recorded, with a total cost in excess of $368 million in damages and injuries, including 18 fatalities. The report states in its summary that, “Targeting human error is key in reducing the number of mishaps.”
For this latest incident, the Department of Defense did not provide further details on the location of the crash. On Saturday, the United States issued a flight notice stating a “search-and-rescue operation” was in progress. At this point, no information has been released about the investigation into the crash, nor has any grounding of any particular aircraft been put in place.
“This is devastating news that reverberates across the entire Special Operations community. Every loss is tough, but in this case, service to the Nation is truly a family business and it’s hard to express the amount of sorrow that we all feel right now,” Lt. Gen. Jonathan Braga, commander of the Army Special Operations Command said in a statement Monday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, their loved ones, and their fellow soldiers. Like the Special Operations community always does, we will wrap our arms around them, grieve with them, and promise to never forget them.”