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Army investigating helicopter crash at Talkeetna Airport

DVIDS/2019 file photo
An AH-64D Apache like these crashed at the Talkeetna Airport as the pilot was taking off after refueling. Two injured soldiers with Fort Wainwright’s 25th Attack Battalion were treated and released from an area hospital.

AH-64D Apache 'rolled over' upon takeoff after refueling

The Army has begun an investigation into the crash of a Fort Wainwright-based helicopter Sunday at the Talkeetna Airport. And two soldiers injured in the accident have been treated and released from an Anchorage-area hospital.

The soldiers with Fort Wainwright’s 25th Attack Battalion were flying an AH-64D Apache helicopter when it landed at the Talkeetna airport to refuel. And after they’d filled-up and were taking off, the pilot lost control and the helicopter hit the ground in what Army officials are calling a rollover accident.

“As the helicopter was taking off, for some reason it rotated on its side. And the blades impacted the ground and it rolled over.”

Eleventh Airborne Division spokesperson John Pennell said this afternoon (Mon) that Army officials don’t yet know the sequence of events that led to the crash. He says that’ll be addressed by investigators from Fort Rucker, Alabama.

“We’re expecting an investigatory from the Army’s Combat Readiness Center to arrive either Wednesday night or Thursday morning.”

Pennell says until then, the damaged helicopter will remain where it crash-landed at the airport. A worker at the airport declined to comment this afternoon, and officials at the state Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division didn’t return a phone call.

The National Transportation Safety Board won’t be investigating, because the military investigates crashes involving its aircraft.

Pennell said the two soldiers injured Sunday were transported to area medical facilities for treatment and later released.

He said the Apache that they were flying was one of four helicopters from Fort Wainwright that were headed to Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson for some training.

Tim Ellis has been working as a KUAC reporter/producer since 2010. He has more than 30 years experience in broadcast, print and online journalism.