Two Utah National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed in northern Utah on Tuesday morning, the Guard announced.
“We can confirm that two Utah National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters were involved in a training accident at approx. 9:30 a.m. near Mineral Basin,” the Guard said in a statement posted to Twitter.
All crew members survived and none were injured in the incident. Both of the helicopters suffered damage in the crash.
During an afternoon press conference Utah National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CWO 5) Jared Jones said the pair of helicopters was flying to an area for approved winter landing training. Jones said the exact circumstances of the incident are still unclear, but from what he had observed from the incident video, as the lead helicopter came in for a landing, the helicopter rotor blades kicked up a lot of snow, likely causing the flight crew to lose visibility with the ground.
As the first helicopter impacted against the ground, a piece of its rotor blade separated and hit the second helicopter, forcing it to land. Jones said a full investigation is underway.
The crash took place near the Snowbird Ski Resort in Mineral Basin, located an hour southeast of Salt Lake City. Jones said the landing area was on federal land located about 150 yards from Snowbird’s official property.
Video taken from a skier captured the moments the helicopters crashed. The pair of helicopters could be seen coming in for a landing as snow is kicked up. Moments later a loud thud could be heard followed by a slowing in the sound of the helicopter blades.
Photos posted on social media show the Black Hawks on the ground with skiers nearby.
A video taken by a skier also shows the two helicopters flying side by side before the crash.
Jones said the helicopter crews took a ski tram down to the Snowbird ski resort where they were received by resort staff.
“It was a blessing that everyone was okay,” Jones said.
Jones also said the crash sites were contained and there were no indications of fuel leaks.
Another video shows a view from a ski lift as a cloud of snow is kicked up where one of the helicopters went down.
The Snowbird Ski Resort shut down operations just after the crash.
Fox 13 tweeted video of skiers passing by one of the crashed helicopters on Tuesday morning. The video shows just how close the helicopter went down next to an active and well-trafficked ski area.