Local News

Eight Killed in Fort Bragg Helicopter Crash

Posted July 8, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— An Army Black Hawk helicopter on a routine training mission crashed and burned in a remote wooded area of this base Tuesday, killing all eight soldiers aboard, military officials said.

The chopper went down about 2:30 p.m. at the western end of the sprawling base near Fayetteville. All the dead were members of the 82nd Airborne Division, said Sgt. Ron Gardner, a division spokesman.

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

Details from the crash site were sketchy and access was limited.

A witness said he saw black smoke rising from the crash site when he arrived on the scene, although he could not get to the crash site.

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

Sgt. 1st Class Dave Schad, a spokesman for the 18th Airborne Corps, said the chopper was on a training mission and was not participating in any live-fire exercises. He said no other helicopters were in the area at the time.

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

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

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

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.