Two Army Black Hawk helicopters crash in Mineral Basin near Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah after ‘snow issue causes their blades to collide’ during National Guard training
- Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were damaged during a training exercise when the one of the aircrafts lost sight of the ground near the Mineral Basin
- As the lead aircraft was landing snow kicked up and portions of the helicopter’s blade separated and struck the second helicopter’s main rotor blades
- The two Black hawks were participating in winter mountain training in an approved landing zone which happens on average about once a week
- It is still not known if the Black Hawks are still useable and a safety accident investigation is underway to find out the cause of accident
Two Army Black Hawk helicopters were seen crashing near the Mineral Basin area in Utah during a National Guard training exercise on Tuesday.
At 9:30 a.m., two UH-60 Black Hawk choppers were damaged during a training exercise when the one of the aircrafts lost sight of the ground, Utah National Guard Aviation spokesman Lt. Jared Jones said in a press conference.
The crash took place near the Mineral Basin, a backside bowl area at the Snowbird Ski Resort, about 28 miles from Salt Lake City.
Video shows that as the lead aircraft came down to land, snow kicked up and portions of the helicopter’s blade separated, striking the second helicopter’s main rotor blades, Jones said.
‘As they landed, the snow kicked up and the aircraft probably lost sight of the ground,’ Lt. Jones said.
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Photos from the scene showed one helicopter crashed in the middle of what looks like a ski run
Shocked skiers shared photos and videos of the crash to social media, with one person captioning footage of the crash ‘Just watched two Black Hawn helicopters crash in Mineral Basin. What the f***’
Lt. Jones said he did not know the exact number, but that there were at least three to four people in each helicopter.
There were no major injuries, but minor injuries were possibly obtained during the crash, Lt. Jones said.
The two Black Hawks were participating in winter mountain training in an approved landing zone which is common and happens on average about once a week, Lt. Jones said, adding that both pilots in command were ‘well-trained.’
‘We do train on edge so that we’re ready for a combat environment anywhere in the world and the crew assumes some level of risk.
‘Every time you fly a helicopter there’s a little bit of danger involved. I’m just happy everyone’s okay,’ Jones said.
Shocked skiers shared photos and videos of the crash to social media.
One photo showed what appears to be one of the helicopters crashed in the middle of what looks like a ski run, while the other helicopter lays in the background.
Robbie Shine of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was on the mountain hoping to take advantage of the morning’s fresh snow and blue skies when he heard the clunk of crashing metal. His two daughters said they saw a helicopter’s back propellers break and come off.
He said the sound was ‘nothing you could ever describe because you never hear it. You’re in the middle of the Wasatch wilderness and it’s a sound you don’t want to hear.’
‘I saw rotor fly off and it was scary because it just started twisting around in the air,’ his eight-year-old daughter Kaia said.
‘I’m just happy that everyone is okay, it could have been a lot worse,’ Utah National Guard Aviation spokesman Lt. Jared Jones (pictured) said in a press conference on Tuesday
Following the crash, the crew was able to get down on their own accords and neither helicopters leaked any fuel, Lt. Jones said.
It is still not known if the Black Hawks are still useable and a safety accident investigation is underway to determine the cause of the accident.
‘I’m just happy that everyone is okay, it could have been a lot worse,’ Lt. Jones said, adding that the crew’s ‘quick, deliberate thinking’ was the reason the accident was not worse.
Snowbird Ski Resort closed Mineral Basin to skiing, and it’s unclear when the area will reopen, KUTV.com reported.
The Mineral Basin Express and Baldy Express lifts were closed following the crash.
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