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Navy helicopter crash lands in Virginia

An SH-60S Seahawk assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 flies over southern Virginia. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Steven Edgar)
January 12, 2022

A U.S. Navy MH-60S “Seahawk” helicopter crashed into trees as it made an emergency landing in an area northwest of Norfolk, Virginia on Wednesday.

“We can confirm that a Navy MH-60S helicopter experienced a hard landing in a field in the vicinity of Smithfield, VA,” Naval Air Force Atlantic (AIRLANT) spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Robert Myers said in a statement reported by ABC News.

In another statement provided to ABC News, the Virginia State Police said, “As the helicopter pilot was making the emergency landing, the momentum of the craft caused it to slide into the wood line. The craft struck several trees sustaining damage to the front cockpit area and both sides of the landing skids.”

Rather than losing total control of the aircraft, the helicopter pilot was able to maintain partial control as the aircraft landed quickly and forcefully on the ground.

“There were three members on board, the two pilots were not injured but the back passenger was transported to the hospital with minor injuries,” the Virginia State Police statement continued. “The U.S. Navy Investigation and Security personnel are on scene and have taken over the investigation.”

The Wednesday helicopter crash landing comes just days after a U.S. Marine AH-1 attack helicopter crashed near Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Wrightstown, New Jersey, causing minor injuries to both crew members on board.

In August, an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) aircraft carrier was conducting routine flight operations approximately 60 nautical miles (about 69 miles) off the coast of San Diego when it went down. After days of searching, five crew members of the helicopter were declared dead.

In July a U.S. Navy MH-60 Knighthawk helicopter crashed near Mount Hogue on the California-Nevada border east of Yosemite National Park. The helicopter had been searching for a lost hiker at the time of the incident. All four crew members were later recovered without injury.

In April, a U.S. Army UH-72 Lakota helicopter assigned to Fort Rucker, Alabama crashed in a rural area, injuring two people on board.

An unmanned U.S. Navy Fire Scout helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21, at Naval Air Station North Island, also crashed in April. The helicopter had taken off from the San Diego-based littoral combat ship USS Charleston when it hit a safety net and collided into the hull of the ship just above the waterline. That helicopter then fell into the Pacific Ocean and was not recovered.

In January of last year, a New York Army National Guard helicopter crashed resulting in the deaths of three soldiers on board.