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US Army: Helicopters Crashed in Mountains, Fair Weather

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Two U.S. Army helicopters that crashed last week in Alaska, killing three soldiers, collided over a rugged, mountainous area, and there were no weather issues or visibility problems at the time, an Army spokesperson said Sunday.

The two AH-64 Apache helicopters were returning to Fort Wainwright from an aerial gunnery range southeast of Fairbanks when they collided.

Killed were Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christopher Robert Eramo, 39, of Oneonta, New York; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kyle D. McKenna, 28, of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Warrant Officer 1 Stewart Duane Wayment, 32, of North Logan, Utah.

A fourth soldier survived and remained hospitalized Sunday, said John Pennell, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Alaska.

Investigators planned to fly on Monday morning to the accident scene about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of the small town of Healy, Pennell said.

The Army grounded aviation units on Friday to conduct further training following recent deadly accidents.

Two Black Hawk helicopters crashed last month in Kentucky during a routine nighttime training exercise that killed nine soldiers, and in February a Tennessee National Guard Black Hawk crashed in Alabama during a flight-training mission, killing two crew members. Also in February, two soldiers were injured when an Apache helicopter rolled after taking off from Talkeetna, Alaska.

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