2 hurt when Army attack helicopter crashes in Talkeetna

an Apache attack helicopter
An AH-64D Apache like these crashed at the Talkeetna Airport as the pilot was taking off after refueling. Two injured soldiers with Fort Wainwright’s 25th Attack Battalion were treated and released from an area hospital. (File/DVIDS)

The Army has begun an investigation into the crash of a Fort Wainwright-based helicopter Sunday at the Talkeetna Airport. And two soldiers injured in the accident have been treated and released from an Anchorage-area hospital.

The soldiers with Fort Wainwright’s 25th Attack Battalion were flying an AH-64D Apache helicopter when it landed at the Talkeetna airport to refuel. And after they’d filled-up and were taking off, the pilot lost control and the helicopter hit the ground in what 11th Airborne Division spokesperson John Pennell called a rollover accident.

“As the helicopter was taking off, for some reason it rotated on its side. And the blades impacted the ground and it rolled over,” he said.

Pennell said Monday afternoon that Army officials don’t yet know the sequence of events that led to the crash. He says that’ll be addressed by investigators from Fort Rucker, Ala.

“We’re expecting an investigator from the Army’s Combat Readiness Center to arrive either Wednesday night or Thursday morning,” he said.

Pennell says until then, the damaged helicopter will remain where it crash-landed at the airport. A worker at the airport declined to comment Monday afternoon, and officials at the state Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division didn’t return a phone call.

The National Transportation Safety Board won’t be investigating, because the military investigates crashes involving its aircraft.

Pennell said the two soldiers injured Sunday were transported to area medical facilities for treatment and later released.

He said the Apache that they were flying was one of four helicopters from Fort Wainwright that were headed to Anchorage’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson for some training.

Tim Ellis is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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