2 Fort Carson Soldiers Injured in Second Apache Helicopter Crash in 48 Hours

AH-64 Apache helicopter flies over Fort Carson
An Apache pilot flies an AH-64 Apache helicopter at Fort Carson, Colorado, Feb. 6, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ashton Empty)

Two soldiers were hospitalized with minor injuries after their AH-64 Apache helicopter went down Wednesday evening during a routine training exercise out of Fort Carson, Colorado, base officials confirmed Thursday.

The crash is the second in just 48 hours involving an Army Apache; the airframe has seen several other incidents over the last year that injured or killed service members.

In the incident at Fort Carson, a single Apache from the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, crashed at about 6:30 p.m. local time during an exercise in a southern training area, according to a statement from the base. The injured soldiers were taken to Evans Army Community Hospital on the base after emergency personnel responded to the crash "within minutes," and they were treated and released the same night, the statement added.

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"We are grateful our soldiers are safe, and the unit is ensuring the crew, their families and friends are receiving all possible care and support during this time," the emailed statement said. "An investigative team from the Army Combat Readiness Center at Fort Novosel, Alabama, will investigate the incident. The command has temporarily grounded all aviation assets on Fort Carson until further notice."

The Fort Carson crash comes on the heels of an Apache crash at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state on Monday. Like Wednesday night's incident, Monday's crash happened during what base officials described as routine training and injured two soldiers, who were taken to the hospital.

The two Apache crashes this week follow two other incidents involving the aircraft in February, including one fatal crash, that prompted the Army National Guard to temporarily ground all of its helicopters.

First, on Feb. 12, two Utah National Guardsmen suffered minor injuries when their Apache went down near Salt Lake City. Then, on Feb. 23, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bryan Andrew Zemek, 36, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Joshua Abbott, 42, were killed when their Apache crashed in northern Mississippi.

While three of the four most recent incidents weren't fatal, it is a rarity to survive helicopter crashes.

And while the Apache is in the spotlight with this week's crashes, the military has grappled with an array of rotary-wing aircraft mishaps. In November, five soldiers were killed when their MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, and nine troops were killed in March 2023 in a crash involving two Black Hawks out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The Kentucky crash was one of the deadliest training incidents in the Army's history and prompted the service to temporarily ground all of its aircraft.

Meanwhile, the Army National Guard in particular has struggled with a high number of incidents. At least 28 Guardsmen were killed in helicopter accidents from 2012 to 2021, according to an April 2023 report from the Government Accountability Office. During the same period, the Army and Air National Guard reported a total of 298 helicopter accidents during non-combat flight operations.

The GAO cited difficulties with maintenance and ensuring pilots meet their flight-hour goals as possibly contributing factors in the helicopter crashes in the Guard, where the units are largely manned by part-time troops.

Related: 2 Army Apache Helicopter Pilots Injured But Stable After Training Crash at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

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