An American helicopter crashed in South Korea on Monday, killing both the occupants on board.
A U.S. military helicopter crashed in South Korea. The helicopter was being used for a routine training exercise when it crashed. It had two pilots on board, who perished, confirmed the U.S. Army and South Korean police.
The U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed in central South Korea on Monday. The crash is believed to have instantaneously killed the pilot and another crew member. The helicopter crashed on a road in Wonju, a city about 70 kilometers (42 miles) southeast of Seoul, reported Fox News.
The helicopter wasn’t carrying any ammunition, but the impact of the crash caused the helicopter to disintegrate, spreading debris on the road. Besides the pilot and crew member, there have been no other casualties. Two badly damaged bodies, confirmed to be the occupants of the helicopter, were recovered. The extent of the damage has made identification difficult, and army officials have entrusted the task to investigators. Even after the identities of the victims are ascertained, it is unlikely they will be publicly released, not until their next of kin is notified and arrangements for their funeral are completed.
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The U.S. Army in South Korea confirmed the crash, but added that the cause of the accident isn’t immediately known. The Army has ordered an investigation. Speaking about the unfortunate incident, Lt. Col. Mark Gillespie, deputy commander of 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, said as follows.
“We offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the families of the soldiers involved in this tragic incident.”
Though the U.S. Army is tightlipped about the reason behind the crash, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency indicated that the helicopter might have crashed due to the rotors getting snared by power lines. Citing unidentified officials, the news agency reported that the helicopter might have been badly damaged upon impact, but its top rotors or blades appeared to be damaged by wires. The officials feel the helicopter was damaged by power lines because wires were found near the debris. Moreover, the region through with the helicopter was flying has a lot of high-voltage power-lines going through it.
Since it was a training mission, it is quite likely the pilot didn’t see the power-lines before it was too late. The officials also said the helicopter might have first hit a steel tower that was quite near the crash site. Additionally, the aircraft was badly burnt, stated a local firefighter, reported France 24. Local eyewitnesses confirmed they heard a loud bang before seeing a burning aircraft crashing down to earth.
The helicopter might have taken off from a U.S. military base at Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, reported the Yonhap News Agency. The crash happened at around 6:20 p.m. local time (0920 GMT) on the road in Wonju, Gangwon province, reported Xinhua.
Surprisingly, the helicopter did not cause any additional property damage or human casualties. The military helicopter was one of several permanently stationed in South Korea, along with some 28,000 U.S. troops. The American military has a permanent presence in the region under a mutual defense pact dating back to the 1950-53 Korean War. In fact, in case North Korea decides to attack, South Korea will have to temporarily hand over military operations to the American troops stationed there.
North and South Korea are technically still in a state of war. There is an armed standoff between the two regions going on since 1953, and despite numerous peace talks, no side has agreed to back down. Incidentally, South Korea’s military conducted artillery live-fire drills on islands near a disputed maritime border with North Korea, reported Business Insider. However, the helicopter crash isn’t connected to the same.
[Photo by Liu Jin/Getty Images]