Fort Campbell-based Black Hawk crashes in Colorado

LEADVILLE, Colo. (AP) - A military helicopter crashed Wednesday
near the peak of Colorado's second-highest mountain, killing two
people, injuring one and leaving another person missing,
authorities said.
The Black Hawk helicopter from Kentucky's Fort Campbell was
carrying out training exercises when it struck about 400 feet from
the top of 14,200-foot Mount Massive, according to the Lake County
Sheriff's office and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The injured person was flown to a Denver hospital, while rescue
teams searched for the missing person, said Sheriff spokesman Max
Duarte. The condition of the injured was not immediately known.
The helicopter was assigned to the 160th Special Operations
Aviation Regiment (Airborne) and was conducting routine training,
according to the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg,
N.C. Its Web site says soldiers from the 160th have carried out
combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the Army did not
elaborate on the purpose of the Colorado maneuvers.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Betty Benson told The Gazette in Colorado
Springs that the two who died were soldiers from Fort Campbell.
Officials have not released any details on the identities of the
four aboard.
The Army statement said that rescue operations were under way
but did not elaborate. The Denver Post reported that the two
ambulance helicopters were at the scene.
The newspaper also said the Black Hawk's flight recorder was
recovered. The cause of the crash has not been released.
Duarte said he did not know how long the helicopter was training
in the central mountain region. Leadville, a town with a population
of 2,600, is about 80 miles southwest of Denver and is surrounded
by rugged wilderness and lofty peaks, several more than 13,000 feet
U.S. Forest Service said its workers building trails with a
youth group heard the 2 p.m. MDT crash but witness it.
Fort Campbell spokesman Maj. Brandon Bissell referred questions
to the special operations command.
Soldiers in the 160th are known as "night stalkers" because
they specialize in nighttime operations, according to the military.
The MH-60 Black Hawk is frequently used for overt and covert
infiltration missions, as well as to bring supplies to special
operations forces in the field, according to the unit's Web site.
The helicopter is also used for rescue and medical evocations, and
an armed version is used for armed escort and fire support.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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