2 dead in military chopper crash on Colo. mountain

LEADVILLE, Colo. (AP) - A military helicopter crashed Wednesday near the peak of Colorado's second-highest mountain, killing two people, injuring one and leaving another person missing, authorities said.

The Black Hawk helicopter from Kentucky's Fort Campbell was carrying out training exercises when it struck about 400 feet from the top of 14,200-foot Mount Massive, according to the Lake County Sheriff's office and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The injured person was flown to a Denver hospital, while rescue teams searched for the missing person, said Sheriff spokesman Max Duarte. The condition of the injured was not immediately known.

The helicopter was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) and was conducting routine training, according to the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. Its Web site says soldiers from the 160th have carried out combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the Army did not elaborate on the purpose of the Colorado maneuvers.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Betty Benson told The Gazette in Colorado Springs that the two who died were soldiers from Fort Campbell. Officials have not released any details on the identities of the four aboard.

The Army statement said that rescue operations were under way but did not elaborate. The Denver Post reported that two ambulance helicopters were at the scene.

The newspaper also said the Black Hawk's flight recorder was recovered. The cause of the crash has not been released.

Duarte said he did not know how long the helicopter was training in the central mountain region. Leadville, a town with a population of 2,600, is about 80 miles southwest of Denver and is surrounded by rugged wilderness and lofty peaks, several more than 13,000 feet high.

U.S. Forest Service said its workers building trails with a youth group heard the 2 p.m. MDT crash but didn't witness it.

Fort Campbell spokesman Maj. Brandon Bissell referred questions to the special operations command.

Soldiers in the 160th are known as "night stalkers" because they specialize in nighttime operations, according to the military.

The MH-60 Black Hawk is frequently used for overt and covert infiltration missions, as well as 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 armed escort and fire support.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment