Monday, January 12, 2009

Army chopper crashes on college campus

1 killed, 4 hurt; Black Hawk accident occurred during training exercise

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - An Army helicopter taking part in a training exercise crashed Monday into a field on the campus of Texas A&M University. One crew member was killed and four others were injured, authorities said.

The UH-60 Black Hawk was carrying a crew of five — four members of the Army National Guard and one member of the ROTC staff at Texas A&M who is a recent graduate, the school said. The helicopter was taking off when it fell abruptly back to the ground on Duncan Field, an open field adjacent to Duncan Dining Hall.

The rudder on the helicopter may have failed, the university said.

The crash littered debris over much of the field as well as two nearby streets.

Sheila Rinard with College Station Medical Center said two of the crash victims were in critical condition and a third was in stable condition.

Another crash victim was at St. Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan, a spokesman said. That person's condition wasn't immediately known.

Officials did not release the names of the dead and injured.

The helicopter, along with 190 cadets in the university's Corps of Cadets, the school's own officer training unit, were participating in the ROTC Winter Field Training Exercises.

Witnesses told the Bryan-College Station Eagle they saw five Black Hawk helicopters taking off and landing throughout the day.

Scott Walker said one of two helicopters he watched lift off seemed to lose control and start spinning.

"All of a sudden he dropped straight back down into the ground," Walker told the newspaper.

Students are on winter break, with classes set to resume Jan. 20.

The Texas A&M campus is about 100 miles northwest of Houston.


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