All three troops killed were pilots who had been conducting a routine training flight, according to Guard officials. The crash marks the second time in less than a month that a three-man National Guard crew has been lost to a Black Hawk mishap.
The Idaho Army National Guard’s state aviation officer, Col. Christopher Burt, said the aircraft was last contacted at 7:45 p.m.
An emergency transmitter device aboard the aircraft was activated shortly after 8 p.m., initiating recovery procedures, which included air and ground search and rescue crews, according to Burt.
The aircraft and the deceased personnel were located just after midnight Wednesday. The cause of the accident is unknown but an investigation is expected to begin “promptly,” Guard officials said.
“This is a tremendous loss to the Idaho National Guard and our community,” Idaho Guard commander Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones as we work through this tragedy.”
The names of the deceased pilots are being withheld until after their next of kin have been notified. The losses in Idaho are not the first suffered by a National Guard aviation unit this year.
In January, a Black Hawk belonging to the New York National Guard crashed in a farmer’s field south of Rochester, killing three experienced pilots with past deployments to Afghanistan.
That mishap also remains under investigation by an Army Safety Investigation team from Fort Rucker, in Alabama. Mishap investigations can take months to finalize their findings and even longer before they’re made public.
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