Support our mission

Four sailors are in stable condition after their helicopter suffered a mishap Tuesday night while taxiing at Naval Air Station Sigonella.

The MH-53 Sea Dragon from Sigonella’s Helicopter Support Squadron 4 was in a mishap resulting in a fire on the ground, said Navy Lt. Steve Curry, base spokesman.

The incident occurred at about 9:50 p.m. on the taxiway at the freshwater-wash station, where aircraft pull up for washing after flights.

“Somehow, there was a fire,” Curry said.

He said it isn’t known where the fire originated, or if the copter was in the wash station at the time.

It had just returned from a training flight.

Four crewmembers were onboard.

Three sailors are being treated at the base hospital for broken bones, contusions and bruising. The other was taken to a local hospital.

No information was available on that sailor’s injuries.

The crewmembers’ names are not being released pending next-of-kin notification. Curry said the crew was comprised of two male officers, a male enlisted sailor and a female enlisted sailor.

Base and Italian firefighters, rescue crew and security responded to the scene. The fire was quickly extinguished.

Damage to the 99-foot-long copter is extensive.

“It appears the aircraft will be a total loss, however, a final determination has not been made,” Curry said.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

The squadron, HC-4, provides heavy helicopter combat support to the fleet in the European theater.

Four HC-4 sailors died in July 2003 when their helicopter crashed during a training flight.


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up