Black Hawk ‘hard landing’ in Afghanistan injures four
BAGRAM, Afghanistan — Four U.S. servicemembers assigned to Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force were injured late Saturday when their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was forced to make a “hard landing” during a combined operation.
The incident occurred in Uruzgan province, officials said. Three of the servicemembers — whose service branch was not released — were treated and returned to duty, a U.S. military spokesman said. The fourth was listed in stable condition at a medical facility at a nearby U.S. airfield.
“In combat, there are a lot of risks. Here in Afghanistan, we sometimes have to land on rocky, uneven terrain,” Army Lt. Col Donald Bolduc, Task Force 31 commander, said in a Sunday news release.
Officials said the Black Hawk had been recovered and moved to a U.S. base for repair and return to service.
The cause of the incident is under investigation, though U.S. officials declined to say whether they suspected enemy fire was involved.
The incident is the latest in a string of mishaps involving helicopters in Afghanistan.
In late September, five soldiers were killed when a Chinook was apparently shot down during a combat mission in southern Afghanistan. Officials originally said no enemy fire was suspected in that crash.
Another Chinook ferrying American and Afghan personnel made what the military termed a “hard landing” on July 28 near Spin Boldak in southwestern Afghanistan. Fire destroyed the aircraft, but the six Americans and 25 Afghans on board escaped serious injury.
On June 28, a Chinook ferrying special operations troops near Asadabad was shot down while trying to rescue a group of SEALS that had come under fire. All 17 military personnel on board died.
On April 6, a helicopter from Company F, 159th Aviation Regiment, 12th Aviation Brigade went down while ferrying troops and supplies between forward operating bases in the eastern region of the country. All five crewmembers and 13 passengers — including three civilian contractors — were killed. Investigators later said a sudden, fierce sandstorm caused that crash.