Local News

One Marine killed, 11 hurt in Lejeune training accident

Posted September 3, 2015 7:17 a.m. EDT
Updated September 3, 2015 2:53 p.m. EDT

— One Marine was killed and 11 others were injured Wednesday night during a training exercise at Camp Lejeune, base officials confirmed Thursday morning.

Officials said a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter experienced a "hard landing" at about 9 p.m. No other information about the incident has been released.

Sixteen Marines were on the helicopter at the time of the accident, and officials said those who were hurt did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

The name of the Marine who died will not be released for 24 hours.

Seven Marines were treated at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, and six have been released. The seventh was in stable condition.

Four Marines were taken to Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville. Three of them have been released, and the fourth was transferred to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where he was in stable condition.

"The loss of a Marine or Sailor affects us all. My heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of our deceased Marine," Maj. Gen. William Beydler, commanding general of II Marine Expeditionary Force, said in a statement. "While accidents like this are disturbing to the members of our Corps, we remain resilient and faithful to one another as we respond to this tragedy."

The accident, which remains under investigation, occurred during helicopter ropes suspension techniques, or HRST, training, officials said. During the exercise, Marines exit the back of the aircraft via a suspended rope while the helicopter hovers above a landing zone. Officials said HRST provides Marines with the ability to conduct helicopter insertions and extractions where helicopter landings are impractical.

The Super Stallion, which is the Marine Corps' primary heavy lift helicopter, was assigned to Heavy Helicopter Squadron-464, Marine Aircraft group-29, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

In March, seven Marines from Camp Lejeune were killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed in foggy conditions off the Florida coast near Eglin Air Force Base during a training exercise. Four Louisiana National Guard members also died in that crash.