Crashed National Guard helicopters removed from mountain
AMERICAN FORK CANYON, Utah — Successful Crews removed two Utah National Guard helicopters from American Fork Canyon Wednesday following a training accident last week.
Earlier today, straps were attached to the two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Just before 3 p.m., a Chinook helicopter lifted one of the helicopters off the mountain and flew it to Heber Valley Airport. The Chinook returned to the Mineral Basin crash site and removed the second Black Hawk about 30 minutes later.
“I know this particular Chinook pilot has done Black Hawk extractions in the past,” Chief Warrant Officer Jared Jones said. “We train there, we have a downed aircraft recovery team. Add in a rigging team and a maintenance team, it comes together in carefully orchestrated plans for the event.”
Members of the Utah and Nevada National Guard assisted in the recovery efforts using maintenance air recovery kits.
After being dropped off, the Black Hawks will be loaded onto trailers for transport Thursday to the Utah Army Aviation Support Facility in western Jordan.
Helicopters crashed during a winter training incident at American Fork Canyon on February 22. No crew from the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment were injured, but it is unclear if the helicopters will be able to be used again in the future.
“Although military training operations can be dangerous, accidents of this nature rarely occur,” said Colonel Shane Manwaring, commander of 97th Aviation Troop Command. “Our soldiers worked tirelessly to prepare the aircraft for extraction from the area. It was great to see our community partners supporting these efforts, especially Snowbird Agencies, US Forest Service, Wasatch County, Wasatch County Sheriff, Heber City Police, Utah Highway Patrol and Heber Valley Airport.”
Once the snow has melted near Snowbird and Mineral Basin, teams will return to perform a detailed assessment and pick up any pieces that have been left behind, along with any information they may gather.