Three Dead in Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk Crash.

File photo of a Minnesota National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. (Photo: File: Minnesota National Guard)

Aircraft Was Performing Maintenance Test Flight When It Went Down.

Three soldiers died in the crash of a Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter on Thursday afternoon near St. Cloud, Minnesota in the Midwestern United States. Reports on Twitter from the Minnesota National Guard said that, “Minnesota National Guard lost contact with a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter while it was conducting a maintenance test flight that originated from St. Cloud, Minnesota.”

Communications with the aircraft were lost at approximately 2:15 PM local time according to the Minnesota National Guard.

A report published by ABC News from reporters Luis Martinez and Elizabeth McLaughlin said that, “According to emergency radio calls, the helicopter called in a “mayday” about nine minutes after takeoff. Imagery from later in the afternoon showed what appeared to be wreckage from the Black Hawk just inside a tree line following an intense search effort.”

Video by local news affiliate WCCO/Sky4 of CBS Minnesota shows the National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk wreckage. (Photo: Sky4 video capture from WCCO CBS Minnesota)

The local media outlet St. Cloud Times, in a story by reporters Jenny Berg and Anna Haecherl, reported that, “The helicopter took off from St. Cloud about 1:55 p.m. and called mayday about nine minutes after takeoff. The base then lost contact with the aircraft. The helicopter was found by a Minnesota State Patrol trooper just after 4 p.m. near Pearl Lake, just south of Marty and about 15 miles southwest of the departure point.”

This latest fatal accident continues a series of (now) three serious accidents for U.S. Army rotary wing aviation. In September, a fatal accident at Fort Polk Joint Readiness Training Center killed one and injured three others. In November, two U.S. Army AH-64 Apache gunship crewmembers died when their helicopter went down in Afghanistan.

A Wisconsin Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk medevac helicopter takes off during a May 2016 training exercise at Fort McCoy, Wis. Approximately 35 Soldiers from West Bend, Wis.-based Company C, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation will deploy to Afghanistan this winter. 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team photo by Sgt. Kimberly Mianecki
About Tom Demerly 466 Articles
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on TheAviationist.com, TACAIRNET.com, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.