The US military will ground pilots for a day next month after two recent and fatal helicopter crashes. A total of twelve soldiers were killed. All army pilots must first undergo mandatory training, except those who are now participating in critical missions.
Three people were killed in a collision between two Apache helicopters in the state of Alaska last Thursday. Another soldier was injured and taken to hospital. His condition is now stable.
The helicopters were returning from a training mission when they collided. They then crashed near the town of Healy. The military is still investigating how the accident happened.
At the end of March, a training flight also went wrong: two Black Hawk helicopters collided in Kentucky. Then nine soldiers died. The cause of that accident is still under investigation. Eyewitnesses described seeing the helicopters flying low and close together just before the accident.
The suspension of air operations was announced yesterday by the military and took effect immediately. The army units must remain grounded until the additional training is completed. The units that are now on active duty will follow that training between 1 and 5 May. The reserve units and the National Guard have until May 31 for training.
“The safety of our pilots is the most important thing,” one of the army chiefs told the AP news agency. “This is an important step to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent accidents and protect our staff.”
- Three killed in US Apache helicopter collision
- Nine killed in U.S. military helicopter crash