Two Army helicopters crash in Washington state, killing four
Two Army helicopters crashed Monday night in a training area at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Tacoma, Wash., killing four crewmen.
Base officials said the accident occurred sometime after 8 p.m. and involved two OH-58 Kiowas, small observation copters that have been part of the Army's fleet since the Vietnam War.
Military investigators already have begun an inquiry into the cause of the crash, which occurred inside the southwest training area at the base, which is the largest military facility in the western U.S. The probe will be led by the Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker, Ala, officials said.
The names of the dead crewmen will not be released until their families can be notified, officials said.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and loved ones of the soldiers involved in this tragic accident," Maj. Gen Lloyd Miles, acting senior commander at Lewis-McChord, said in a statement. "We will conduct a thorough investigation into this incident, and we will do everything in our power to support the families of the brave soldiers who died this evening."
The base earlier this month saw the return of its last large group of soldiers from Iraq when 170 members of medical and artillery units were welcomed at an emotional homecoming. An additional 100 Lewis-McChord soldiers are returning individually or in small groups on commercial flights, base officials said.
-- Kim Murphy in Seattle
Photo: An OH-58 Kiowa helicopter. Credit: U.S. Army