Two U.S. Army helicopters crashed

Black Hawk helicopters

Nine people died when two U.S. Army helicopters crashed during a training operation in Kentucky, according to military sources.

The mid-air collision involved two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters that were part of a 101st Airborne Division operation over Trigg County, located in the southwestern part of the state on its border with Tennessee, at around 10 p.m. on Wednesday.

One of the victims killed in the helicopter crash was from New Jersey.

Sgt. David Solinas Jr, 23, was from Oradell, New Jersey, was among the nine soldiers killed in a crash of two medical evacuation Black Hawk helicopters during a routine nighttime training mission over Kentucky, the U.S. Army said.

Sgt. David Solinas Jr., 23, of Oradell, New Jersey

Born in New Jersey on May 1, 1999, Solinas enlisted in the Army from Oradell, New Jersey in 2018.

Following basic training, at Fort Sill, Oklahoma he attended Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Solinas was subsequently assigned as a Combat Medic with 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Solinas served as a Flight Paramedic for the Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division since October 2022.

He graduated from Airborne School; Brigade Combat Team Training; Basic Leader Course; Critical Care Paramedic Course; Army Medical Department Crewmember Course; Unit Prevention Leader Training; Field Sanitation Team Certification.

The incident is described as one of the military’s deadliest training accidents in recent years.

Army Brigadier General John Lubas, the division’s deputy commanding officer for operations, said that one helicopter had five soldiers aboard while the other was carrying four, and they were using night-vision goggles.

“This is a time of great sadness for the 101st Airborne Division. The loss of these Soldiers will reverberate through our formations for years to come,” said Maj. Gen. JP McGee, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell. “Now is the time for grieving and healing. The whole division and this community stand behind the families and friends of our fallen soldiers.”

Crew members using night-vision goggles were flying two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, operated by the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, when the aircraft crashed in a field late on Wednesday over Kentucky’s Trigg County.

The crash occurred just west of the US Army base of Fort Campbell, near the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

The other victims were also identified:

-Warrant Officer 1 Jeffery Barnes, 33, of Milton, Florida

-Cpl. Emilie Marie Eve Bolanos, 23, of Austin, Texas

-Chief Warrant Officer 2 Zachary Esparza, 36, of Jackson, Missouri

-Sgt. Isaacjohn Gayo, 27, of Los Angeles, California

-Staff Sgt. Joshua C. Gore, 25, of Morehead City, North Carolina

-Warrant Officer 1 Aaron Healy, 32, of Cape Coral, Florida

-Staff Sgt. Taylor Mitchell, 30, of Mountain Brook, Alabama

-Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rusten Smith, 32, of Rolla, Missouri

Last month, two Tennessee National Guard pilots were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed along an Alabama highway during a training exercise.

A local witness, James Hughes, stated that the helicopters had been flying “pretty low” over local homes when the collision occurred. The weather at the time of the crash was clear.

Early in the morning of March 30, 2023, the 101st Airborne confirmed that there had been a number of casualties.

A US Army soldier at the scene informed a local radio station that there had been several fatalities and that the county coroner had been called.

Kentucky state police were called at around 10:15 (EST), and rushed to an area of woods and fields. Sarah Burgess, a spokesperson for the KSP stated that multiple agencies were participating in the investigation, and also stated that no residential areas had been affected.

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