(CNN) Nine U.S. service members were killed when two helicopters with the 101st Airborne Division crashed late Wednesday in southwestern Kentucky, officials said. There were no survivors.
Two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Trigg County near the Tennessee border around 10 p.m., officials at nearby Fort Campbell said. said Early Thursday. The site said in a statement that they were engaged in routine training when the incident occurred Facebook.
The helicopters are medical evacuation aircraft, and it is believed the crash happened while they were flying and not during a medical evacuation exercise, Brig. Gen. John Lupas, deputy commander of the 101st Airborne Division, said during a Thursday morning news conference at Fort Campbell.
He said there were no additional casualties or injuries as the plane went down in an open field opposite the residential area.
According to 101st Airborne Division spokesman Staff Sgt., the Black Hawks that crashed were two of four total helicopters participating in a training exercise. Joshua Tverberg. One helicopter stopped to refuel and another was ahead of the two that went down.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement Thursday that he was “saddened by this tragic loss” and “is working with the military to ensure our troops and their families receive the care they need in the wake of this accident.”
“My heart goes out to the families of these service members and to the members of the 101st Airborne Division who bravely and proudly serve our country every day,” he said.
‘A tough day for the army’
The names of the dead will not be released until their families are notified, Lupas said.
“We’re going to do what we always do,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said during a news conference, acknowledging the families of fallen soldiers. “We’re going to wrap our arms around these families, and we’re going to be with them, not just for days, but for weeks and months and years.”
An Army investigative team from Fort Rucker, Alabama, will go to the crash site to investigate the cause, Lupas said. They are expected to arrive Thursday afternoon, a military official told CNN.
The HH-60 Black Hawk is a medical evacuation variant of the helicopter that can transport a fully equipped 11-man infantry squad. One plane had five people on board, while the other had four people on board, including the pilot, co-pilot, crew chief and “doctors or other personnel,” Lupas said.
Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth called Thursday “a tough day for the Army.”
“Thank you for your comments and thoughts and prayers for the families of our soldiers who were killed in the crash,” Wormuth told lawmakers during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. “Our hearts go out to them.”
“I am devastated to learn of the military helicopter crash in Kentucky involving our brave 101st Airborne,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement. Twitter. “My team is in contact with military and officials on the ground. Please pray for our service members and their families as we learn more.”
An accident occurs within two months Two Tennessee National Guardsmen were killed Their UH-60 Black Hawk crashed during a training flight in Alabama.
Overall, the military has averaged five deaths per year in on-duty aviation accidents since fiscal year 2018. US Army Combat Readiness Center.
This is a very serious helicopter training incident 11 soldiers were killed A Black Hawk crashed on a beach during a training mission from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
CNN’s Nikki Robertson and Mitch McCluskey contributed to this report.