One killed Texas A&M Black Hawk crash

January 13, 2009 4:39:46 AM PST
One person was killed and four others injured when their Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed Monday into a field on the campus of Texas A&M University while on a field training exercise. [PHOTOS: See images from where the chopper went down Monday]

The Army UH-60 helicopter crashed at about 3:30 p.m. near the Corps of Cadets field on the school's College Station campus, about 100 miles northwest of Houston. A crew of four from the Army National Guard and an Army lieutenant assigned to the school's ROTC unit were the only ones aboard the Black Hawk, Texas A&M spokesman Lane Stephenson said. No students were among the injured. Classes resume after winter break on Jan. 20.

Sheila Rinard with College Station Medical Center said two of the crash victims were in critical condition and a third was in stable condition. Another crash victim was at St. Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan, a spokesman said, but didn't immediately know any details. One person on the ground was hit by flying debris and suffered minor injuries, university spokesman Lane Stephenson said.

Officials did not release the names of the dead and injured.

Witnesses told the Bryan-College Station Eagle they saw five Black Hawk helicopters taking off and landing throughout the day.

Col. Bill Meehan, spokesman for Texas Military Forces, said the unit had been providing transportation to and from Camp Swift, about 20 miles east of Austin. He said ground transportation was being arranged to return those still at Camp Swift.

"It's the right thing to do for those families at this particular time," he said.

An investigation will be conducted into the crash. Meehan said the unit had never had a death while providing transport services.

Scott Walker told the newspaper that he saw two helicopters lift off around 3:05 p.m. The first one took off without trouble, but the second seemed to lose control and start spinning, Walker said.

"All of a sudden he dropped straight back down into the ground," Walker told the newspaper.

Bart Humphreys, a spokesman for the College Station Fire Department said the investigation into the crash was just beginning.

The helicopter, along with 190 cadets in the university's Corps of Cadets, the school's own officer training unit, were participating in the ROTC Winter Field Training Exercises.

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