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Army special operations helicopter training flight hard landing in Savannah — 1 killed, 2 injured

“A member of an elite Army helicopter unit was killed and two crew members suffered injuries when their aircraft slammed into the ground as they tried to land at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, a military spokesman said Thursday. The MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was returning from a routine training flight when it made a “hard landing” just before 11:30 p.m. Wednesday on or near the airstrip at the base in coastal Georgia, said Army Maj. Allen Hill, a spokesman for the crew’s aviation unit. The three-man crew was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, which trains soldiers to fly helicopters behind enemy lines under cover of darkness. Nicknamed the Night Stalkers, the unit was responsible for flying Navy SEALs into Pakistan during the 2010 raid in which Osama Bin Laden was killed. The 160th regiment is headquartered at Fort Campbell, Ky., but has a battalion stationed in Savannah. Hill said Thursday the Army was still investigating what went wrong at the end of the training flight late Wednesday. ‘They were on final approach,’ he said. ‘Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.’ Hill said he did not know how badly the helicopter was damaged or if it landed on the tarmac or in the grass. Local television news footage taken from a distance showed the aircraft leaning to one side near the base’s runway. Though the helicopter hit the ground with enough force to kill and injure crew members, Hill insisted the aircraft had not crashed. ‘The difference is in a hard landing the pilot had more control, as opposed to a crash which would have been something more severe,’ Hill said.” (Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/).

“The military has identified the victim as Capt. Clayton Carpenter. Carpenter, 31, was a native of Brooklyn, NY and a 2005 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He served as a Special Operations Helicopter Platoon Leader. He is survived by his parents Paul and Colette Carpenter of Cortland Manor, NY. The cause of the accident remains under investigation . . . . The Public Affairs office out of Hunter Army Airfield tells WSAV that a helicopter with the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Regiment out of Fort Campbell, or Night Stalkers, made a “hard” landing late Wednesday night during a routine training exercise. Information is limited as officials say the team’s operations are often classified.” (Source: https://www.wsav.com/story/24466856/brea).

We at Pilot Law extend our sympathies and condolences to the victims of this crash. We have a lot of experience in handling cases such as this and will continue to independently investigate the possible causes of this terrible accident.  As always, we are available for a free consultation with anyone who may wish to pursue claims on their behalf or on behalf of a loved one.