US Army puts a safety halt to flying after fatal chopper crashes
Following two recent helicopter crashes in which 12 soldiers perished, the US Army chief of staff has ordered all Army aviators not engaged in critical missions to ground their aircraft.
The aviators are grounded as a result of the order from Army Chief of Staff James McConville “until they complete the required training,” according to the Army.
McConville stated in a statement that “the safety of our aviators is our top priority” and that “this stand down is an important step to ensure we are doing everything possible to prevent accidents and protect our personnel.”
Under McConville’s guidance, Army pilots “will focus on safety and training protocols to ensure our pilots and crews have the knowledge, training, and awareness to safely complete their assigned mission.”
The safety stand down follows the mid-air collision of two AH-64 Apache helicopters on Thursday near Fort Wainwright, Alaska, which resulted in the deaths of three soldiers and the injury of a fourth. According to a statement from the US Army’s 11th Airborne Division, three of the soldiers passed away: two died at the site and the third passed away on the way to a hospital.
The collision happened around 100 miles south of Fort Wainwright, where the 1st Attack Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment helicopters are stationed.
Our hearts and prayers go out to their families, friends, and loved ones, and we are making the full resources of the Army available to support them, said Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, commanding general of the 11th Airborne Division, in a statement. that deadly collision occurred just weeks after nine soldiers were killed when two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed during combat.
At around 10:00 p.m. local time, the medical evacuation helicopters crashed in an open field next to a neighbourhood while on a normal training operation. The nine service men on board each of the two aircraft perished.
According to the Army, the instances are being investigated, but “there is no indication of any pattern” between them.