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New details in Army helicopter crash revealed: Report

U.S. Army AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters assigned to 1st Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment Attack Reconnaissance Battalion (ARB) in flight over an Alaskan mountain range near Fort Wainwright, Alaska, June 3, 2019. ((U.S. Army photo by CW2 Cameron Roxberry/Released)
December 18, 2023

A report released recently by the United States Army Combat Readiness Center provides new details regarding a U.S. Army helicopter crash that claimed the lives of three soldiers in April.

According to an accident safety report from the United States Army Combat Readiness Center that was obtained by The Associated Press, a U.S. Army AH-64D Apache helicopter hit another Army helicopter while flying through an Alaskan mountain pass with multiple aircraft after a training exercise. The incident resulted in both helicopters crashing near Healy, Alaska, on April 27.

While many of the details in The United States Army Combat Readiness Center’s accident safety report were redacted, the report provided new details regarding the fatal incident.

The Associated Press reported that the Army originally released information that explained the two Army helicopters involved in the crash were from the 1st Attack Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, stationed at Fort Wainwright. At the time, the Army said the helicopters collided roughly 50 miles east of Healy as they were returning from military training.

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The new report obtained Friday by The Associated Press noted that the helicopters were two of 14 aircraft that were flying through mountainous terrain from Donnelly Training Area to Fort Wainwright.

According to the report, the aircraft executed a planned right turn into a mountain pass in Alaska roughly 48 minutes into the flight. The report stated, “As the flight of 14 aircraft entered the mountain pass, aircraft in the flight began to decelerate.”

Approximately 30 seconds after making the right turn into the mountain pass, one of the Army helicopters collided with another helicopter, causing both to crash.

According to The Associated Press, the soldiers killed in April’s tragic accident were 32-year-old Warrant Officer 1 Stewart Duane Wayment of North Logan, Utah; 39-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christopher Robert Eramo of Oneonta, New York; and 28-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kyle D. McKenna of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

While a fourth U.S. soldier was injured in the incident, the Army has not yet released the name of the soldier.