Two US Army soldiers have been killed after their AH-64E Apache helicopter crashed during a training drill at Fort Campbell military base in Kentucky.
The soldiers killed in the Friday night crash were members of the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division, military authorities announced on Saturday, adding that their identities will be withheld until 24 hours after next-of-kin notification is complete.
According to a Fox News report, the Army crew was conducting a routine training operation at the time of the deadly crash. Fort Campbell Fire and Emergency Services members responded to the crash site, saying no other casualties resulted from the incident.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
“This is a day of sadness for Fort Campbell and the 101st Airborne,” said acting senior commander of the 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell, Brig. Gen. Todd Royar. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Families during this difficult time.”
The development came following three more US military aircraft crashes earlier in the week that left five service members dead.
An Air Force Thunderbird pilot was killed on Wednesday when his F-16 fighter jet crashed near Nellis Air Force Base in the Western US state of Nevada.
A US Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter also crashed last Tuesday during a training flight in the West Coast state of California, killing all four crew members on board.
Yet another Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier attack aircraft also crashed on Tuesday during takeoff in the tiny African country of Djibouti, but the pilot survived the incident after ejecting from the war plane.
Fox News further reported on Friday that the latest crashes of US war planes had raised concerns among American lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the military’s deteriorating air fleet may not be getting the funding it needs.
However, the director of the US Defense Department’s Joint Staff, Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Jr. declined to state at a Thursday news conference that the crashes signaled a trend.
“I would reject ‘wave’ and ‘crisis,'” McKenzie insisted. “We’re going to look at each one in turn. Each one is tragic. We regret each one. We will look at them carefully. I am certainly not prepared to say that it’s a ‘wave’ of mishaps or some form of ‘crisis.'”