Feb 16, 2023
Pentagon Officials Confirm National Guard Helicopter Crash Transcript
A Tennessee National Guard black hawk crashed in Alabama on Wednesday afternoon, leaving two dead. read the transcript here.
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A lot happening. We do want to get back to that breaking news we’ve been following. A deadly helicopter crash just across the border in Harvest, Alabama, right near Huntsville. We know two crew members were aboard the Black Hawk and they were killed.
That helicopter belonged to the Tennessee National Guard, and the crew members were doing a training exercise when it crashed.
All right. We have team coverage, as we mentioned. 5 Alert Anchor Hunter Hoagland is taking a deeper look at the helicopter involved. First though, News Channel 5’s Jason Lamb is live tonight in Huntsville near the crash site. And Jason, I understand you talked with a man who saw what happened.
Jason Lamb (00:37):
Yeah, that’s right, Roy. We’re near Highway 53 in the town of Harvest that is just outside of Huntsville. We’re a few hundred yards from the crash site. And as we zoom in over here, it may be hard to see through these trees, but what you can see through them is that is part of the covered up crash site area, that Black Hawk appears to still be there covered up as the investigation continues. Now, the crash happened just before three o’clock, again during a training mission with two Guardsmen on board who died. Now you can imagine the terror of seeing this happen in real time. We spoke with someone who was driving on the highway when he saw the helicopter crash. Here’s what he saw.
Davy Hunt (01:19):
When he was flying, it was kind of, I’d say, almost like a wobble. It was just kind of wobbling a little bit, and then when he came down this, the engine sound, I mean, it was deafening. It was so loud. But the blades on the helicopter, they wasn’t spinning real fast when he come down. He come down on the nose and the nose caved in, but he was already starting to flip upside down when he hit.
Jason Lamb (01:44):
Now Davy called 911, then took out his phone and started recording these images. You can see the flames and the thick black plume of smoke coming from that helicopter just two minutes after it crashed. Tonight, investigators are here as the highway remains closed, likely for days, according to officials here. And listen to this, there is a neighborhood very close to here. As horrible a situation this was tonight, things could have been so much worse.
Davy Hunt (02:12):
Yeah, the subdivision is to the east. If you’re heading south, the subdivision is to the east may be 300 yards, and that’s the direction that they came from. The backside of it. The way that they was flying, I don’t know what was going on, but in my opinions, they’re heroes because if they was having issues causing them to fly that way, it could have very easily hit the subdivision and they managed to get it out in the open road. Yeah, there was traffic coming, but where they landed, there was nobody there. Luckily, there was nobody there, but in my eyes they’re heroes.
Jason Lamb (02:45):
The Tennessee National Guard says no one else was hurt in this crash. Let’s go over to 5 Alert Anchor Hunter Hoagland. Now he has a closer look and in depth look at what these helicopters are really capable of. Hunter.
Hunter Hoagland (02:59):
Hey, Jason. Yeah, we now know it was UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter that went down at around three o’clock this afternoon. When this was all happening, I was actually talking with a retired Black Hawk pilot about everything that was going on up in the air. He says, “These are some of the toughest and most reliable pieces of machinery that the US military has.” It can hold a total of 15 people. That includes four crew members and 11 passengers. The statement we got from the Guard said two crew members were on board when they were killed. We know it was a training mission, so it’s possible it was just a pilot and co-pilot inside. Obviously, we will not know the full details until that investigation is complete, but these helicopters, it’s imperative when it comes to what the National Guard does and their mission out there. They fly into the worst tragedies, floods, fires, you name it, and they immediately begin search and rescues.
We also know these things are super sturdy, right? They are literally built to withstand gunfire as they fly over war zones and in and out of just really tough situations. It is still unclear tonight what caused the helicopter to fall from that sky, that sobering video we all watched earlier, but certainly something that investigators are working to figure out. Here in the meantime, both the leader of the National Guard and the governor saying just what a heartbreaking situation this is, not only for the families, but for the state of Tennessee. You can see Governor Bill Lee, he put this out. He said, “Maria and I are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of two Tennessee National Guard members.” Going on to say, “These families, they need to be lifted up in prayer tonight.” And Carrie, just certainly all of us here on News Channel 5, thinking of that call that no family wants to get.
Yeah. Just thinking of those families tonight, just a horrible, horrible night. Thank you, Hunter and Jason. New details are going to come out about this tomorrow and likely later on this week, we will be following all of the developments. You’ll be able to find those first on the News Channel 5 app. This is the story that we already have posted there tonight. Now, if you don’t have the app, you can download it for free right now.