• Two Apache helicopters with two soldiers each collided while returning from training
  • Two soldiers died at the scene while another passed away on the way to the hospital
  • The identities of the soldiers were not immediately released

Three Army pilots in Alaska were killed in a crash that involved two Apache helicopters returning from a training mission.

The two AH-64 helicopters, which were part of the 1st Attack Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, at Fort Wainwright, collided with each other near Healy, about 80 miles southwest of Fairbanks, on Thursday, AP News reported.

Four Army helicopter pilots, two on each Apache helicopter, were involved in the crash, according to the Washington Post.

Capt. Molly Treece, a spokesperson for the Army, said three of the helicopter pilots were killed while the fourth one was taken to the hospital.

"First responders are on the scene. The incident is under investigation and more information about the incident will be released when it becomes available," The 11th Airborne Division said in a statement.

The 11th Airborne Division later released an update and revealed that the helicopters collided in flight. The identities of the soldiers were not immediately released so that their next of kin could be informed first.

"Two soldiers were declared dead at the scene of the crash and a third died en route to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital," the 11th Airborne Division said. "The fourth soldier is being treated at Fairbanks Memorial for injuries sustained in the crash."

Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, commanding general of the 11th Airborne Division, spoke about the "incredible loss" and said resources would be available to the family and friends of the deceased soldiers.

"This is an incredible loss for these soldiers' families, their fellow soldiers, and for the division," Eifler said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to their families, friends and loved ones, and we are making the full resources of the Army available to support them. The Fort Wainwright community is one of the tightest military communities I've seen in my 32 years of service. I have no doubt they will pull together during this exceptional time of need and provide comfort to our families of our fallen."

This is at least the second crash involving Apache helicopters in Alaska this year. The first one was the rollover accident that took place after an Army AH-64D Apache helicopter took off in Talkeetna, located about 110 miles north of Anchorage, in February. Two soldiers were injured in the said accident.

Representational image (soldier)
Representational image (Source: Pixabay / Military_Material) Pixabay / Military_Material