How investigators recovered ‘Black Boxes’ from the fatal Fort Campbell helicopter crash in Kentucky

The Fort Campbell helicopter crash has been on the news recently, garnering condolences and grief from all throughout the country. In the recent update, black boxes have been recovered from the crash forensic, indicating further insight into what went into the aircraft before it crashed.

Fort Campbell Helicopter Crash
Military officials held a news conference at Fort Campbell in Kentucky on Thursday, March 30, 2023, to address the fatal helicopter crash. According to a military spokesperson, nine people died in the crash involving two Army Black Hawk helicopters that were conducting a nighttime training exercise. An image taken by Sharon Johnson and distributed by the Associated Press was also released.

On Wednesday night, two Army Black Hawk helicopters crashed during a training exercise in Kentucky, resulting in the deaths of nine soldiers, officials announced on Thursday. The incident occurred in Trigg County, west of Fort Campbell, at around 10 p.m. local time.

The Army base reported that the two HH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation aircraft were involved in the training exercise. The deceased soldiers, belonging to the 101st Airborne Division based in Fort Campbell, were not all revealed fully initially. As their next of kin were being informed first.

About the Helicopter that was carrying the Army officials during the Crash

According to Army Brigadier General John Lubas, one helicopter was carrying five individuals, while the other had four, which he stated was a “fairly typical” configuration. They were reportedly engaged in a “multi-ship formation” exercise and medical evacuation drills, but Gen. Lubas noted that the crash occurred while the helicopters were flying and not during the formation.

What are the recovered Black Boxes from the Fort Campbell Helicopter crash?

The Army has sent the flight data recorders, commonly referred to as “black boxes,” back to Fort Rucker, Alabama for analysis in the investigation. The data recorders are expected to provide more information about the events leading up to the crash.

Black Boxes recovered in Fort Campbell Helicopter Crash
Snapshotted from the video released in Military.com

However, a timeline for the investigation’s completion cannot be provided at this time. According to Lt. Col. Tony Hoefler with the 101st Airborne Division, the duration of the investigation will be determined by a thorough analysis of all factors.

  • According to the news release by the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the flight data recorders, commonly known as “black boxes” in civilian aircraft, was found by a U.S. Army aviation safety team from Fort Rucker, Alabama.
  • These recorders were recovered from the site of the HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash that occurred during a nighttime training exercise near Fort Campbell on March 29. The black boxes have been sent to Fort Rucker for detailed analysis.

About the soldiers who died (members of the 101st Airborne Division)

An image released of the nine deceased, Image distributed by the Associated Press 

The Army is doing its best to inform the next-of-kin, with some of them located outside of the United States. At a Senate hearing in Washington DC, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth expressed her gratitude for the condolences offered by lawmakers. The weather in the area, about 60 miles (100km) northwest of Nashville, was calm and clear on Wednesday night.

Brig. Gen. John Lubas, the 101st Airborne deputy commander, confirmed that the two Army Black Hawk helicopters crashed while flying during a nighttime training exercise.

Military officials held a news conference at Fort Campbell in Kentucky on Thursday, March 30, 2023, to address the fatal helicopter crash. According to a military spokesperson, nine people died in the crash involving two Army Black Hawk helicopters that were conducting a nighttime training exercise. An image taken by Sharon Johnson and distributed by the Associated Press was also released.

The pilots were using night-vision goggles during the training exercise, according to Army officials. The remains of the nine soldiers who were killed have been transported to Dover Air Force Base, home to the Joint Service Mortuary Affairs Office, officials stated.

Officials confirmed that three soldiers who were killed have been posthumously promoted to the next higher grade, namely

  1. Sgt. Emilie Marie Eve Bolanos, 23, of Austin, Texas;
  2. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Zachary Esparza, 36, of Jackson, Missouri;
  3. and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Aaron Healy, 32, of Cape Coral, Florida. The Army has identified the other six soldiers who died as well.
SOURCES: BBC, Military, Kentucky

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