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US Army helicopters collide in Alaska; 3 soldiers dead, 1 injured



Three soldiers were killed and one was injured Thursday after two Army helicopters collided near Healy, Alaska, according to a statement from the U.S. Army.

The names of the dead will be withheld until 24 hours after their relatives are notified, according to statement from the 11th Airborne Division.

The aircraft were AH-64 Apache helicopters from the 1st Attack Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment at Fort Wainwright. Two of the soldiers were declared dead at the scene, and a third died on the way to the hospital, according to the statement. A fourth soldier was hospitalized.

PREVIOUS REPORTING: 3 soldiers dead, 1 injured after 2 Army helicopters crash in Alaska

US Army helicopter crash under investigation

The helicopters were returning from a training mission when they collided. Each one was carrying two people at the time of the crash, John Pennell, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Alaska, said Thursday.

The AH-64 Apache is a twin-engine attack helicopter equipped with a cannon, rockets and missiles. The helicopters typically have a crew of two: a pilot and a co-pilot gunner, according to the U.S. Army.

The crash is being investigated by a team from the Army Combat Readiness Center in Fort Novosel, Alabama, according to the 11th Airborne Division.

GRAPHICS: US Army Black Hawk helicopters crash in Kentucky leaving nine dead

Authorities call Alaska helicopter crash ‘incredible loss’

Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, commanding general of the 11th Airborne Division, called the crash “an incredible loss for these soldiers’ families, their fellow soldiers and for the division.”

“The Fort Wainwright community is one of the tightest military communities I’ve seen in my 32 years of service,” Eifler said in a statement. “I have no doubt they will pull together during this exceptional time of need and provide comfort to our families of our fallen.”

Where did the crash take place?

The helicopters crashed near Healy, about 10 miles north of Denali National Park and Preserve and about 250 miles north of Anchorage.

A community of about 1,000 people, Healy is a popular destination for visitors of the nearby park, which is home to Denali, the continent’s tallest mountain.

The town is also near where a long-abandoned bus made famous by the 1996 book “Into the Wild” and the movie of the same name had once been. The bus was removed and taken to Fairbanks in 2020. Before it was removed, scores of travelers had to be rescued and two died while trying to make the unforgiving trek to the abandoned vehicle, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

KENTUCKY CRASH: 9 soldiers dead after two Army Black Hawk helicopters crash during training in Kentucky

Recent military helicopter crashes

The military helicopter crash is the second in Alaska this year after two soldiers were injured in an Apache helicopter crash in February in Talkeetna.

In March, nine soldiers were killed after two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters crashed during a routine nighttime training exercise about 30 miles northeast of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Contact Christine Fernando at or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.


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