Local News

Eight Killed in Fort Bragg Helicopter Crash

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FORT BRAGG — An Army Black Hawk helicopter on aroutine training mission crashed and burned in a remote wooded areaof this base Tuesday, killing all eight soldiers aboard, militaryofficials said.

The chopper went down about 2:30 p.m. at the western end of thesprawling base near Fayetteville. All the dead were members of the82nd Airborne Division, said Sgt. Ron Gardner, a divisionspokesman.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash. The weatherwas clear and calm when the helicopter went down.

Details from the crash site were sketchy and access waslimited.

A witness said he saw black smoke risingfrom the crash site when he arrived on the scene, although he couldnot get to the crash site.

A later report quoted a fireman as saying he saw bodies at thecharred remains of the aircraft.

Sgt. 1st Class Dave Schad, a spokesman for the 18th AirborneCorps, said the chopper was on a training mission and was notparticipating in any live-fire exercises. He said no otherhelicopters were in the area at the time.

A thunderstorm hit later in the afternoon and hampered rescueefforts. The bodies of the eight men had not been removed from thesite by early evening.

The Black Hawk usually operates with a crew of three and cancarry as many as 13 soldiers.

In 1994, a crash involving a jet fighter and a troop transportkilled 24 soldiers waiting to board planes at Pope Air Force Basefor a practice parachute jump.

By SCOTT MOONEYHAM,Associated Press WriterCopyright ©1997 AssociatedPress. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,rewritten, or distributed.

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