A U.S. Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopter flies over Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, July 29, 2022.

A U.S. Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopter flies over Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, July 29, 2022. (Patrick Sullivan/U.S. Air Force)

Three soldiers were killed and another injured when two AH-64 Apache helicopters collided and crashed Thursday near Healy, Alaska, according to the Army.

The helicopters belonged to the 1st Attack Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment at Fort Wainwright, and were returning from a training mission, the Army said in a news release.

Two soldiers were declared dead at the scene and a third died en route to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where the fourth soldier is being treated for injuries, the release said.

The names of the soldiers who died are being withheld until 24 hours after next of kin have been notified, the Army said.

“This is an incredible loss for these soldiers’ families, their fellow soldiers, and for the division,” Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, commander of the 11th Airborne Division, said in the release. “Our hearts and prayers go out to their families, friends and loved ones, and we are making the full resources of the Army available to support them.”

The collision will be investigated by a team from the Army Combat Readiness Center, Fort Novosel, Ala., the Army said.

Healy is about 250 miles north of Anchorage, 110 miles south of Fairbanks and close to the entrance of Denali National Park and Preserve.

The incident follows the March 29 crash of two Army Black Hawk helicopters during a training flight near Fort Campbell, Ky., that took the lives of nine soldiers.

The 101st Airborne Division aircraft collided in midair during a nighttime flight and went down in a field in Kentucky, Army investigators said in a preliminary report.

On Feb. 15, two veteran Tennessee Army National Guard pilots were killed when the UH-60 Black Hawk they were flying crashed during a training flight near Huntsville, Ala.

Earlier this year in Alaska, two soldiers were slightly injured when their Apache helicopter rolled over at the state’s Talkeetna airport.

According to the preliminary report on the Kentucky crash, an average of seven Class A flight mishaps a year have occurred since 2018. During the same span, an average of five soldiers have been killed per year in on-duty flight accidents.

A Class A mishap is one that creates substantial property damage or causes death or serious permanent injury.

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Wyatt Olson is based in the Honolulu bureau, where he has reported on military and security issues in the Indo-Pacific since 2014. He was Stars and Stripes’ roving Pacific reporter from 2011-2013 while based in Tokyo. He was a freelance writer and journalism teacher in China from 2006-2009.

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