Inspectors to revisit fatal helicopter crash scene near St. Cloud

Updated: December 06, 2019 11:02 PM

Army Safety Center inspectors are headed to Minnesota to investigate the scene of a fatal Black Hawk helicopter crash outside of St. Cloud.

The community, as well as the nation, is mourning the loss of three Minnesota National Guard members on board.

The National Guard said it lost contact with the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at about 2:05 p.m. while it was conducting a maintenance test flight that originated in St. Cloud.

According to a KSTP source, a mayday call came in nine or 10 minutes after it took off.

3 Minnesota National Guard soldiers dead in helicopter crash near St. Cloud

Crews were on the scene of the crash site approximately 16 miles southwest of St. Cloud near Marty Township Thursday afternoon and evening.

On Saturday, investigators from Fort Rucker in Alabama will continue searching through evidence to uncover what led to the crash.

"We see them flying over three or four times a week," said Mitchell Dillmann, who lives near the crash site. "It's really sad, I've been praying for the family members."

"These are neighbors these are our family members, our friends who live and work in our community and put on our nation's uniform as a member of the Guard," St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, a veteran himself, said. "It's a very difficult thing to take as a community and our hearts just go out to those families."

Gov. Tim Walz was somber at a news conference Thursday night, standing by fellow service members.

"As the governor and as a citizen of this great state, and as a veteran of the Army National Guard, my heart breaks for the family, the friends, and the fellow soldiers," Walz said. "The coming days will be dark and difficult. The state of Minnesota stands ready to assist the family of our fallen heroes."

Walz told a KSTP reporter Friday the names of those killed in the crash will be released Saturday.

Col. Fix from the 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade said about the crash: "The loss of our three Air Crew Members, weighs heavy on the hearts of every 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade Soldier and the entire Minnesota National Guard family.
We honor their service and sacrifice today. They were professionals who believed in something bigger than themselves by serving their country. Our prayers go out to the families of these Citizen Soldiers."

Volunteers support first responders and military families after deadly helicopter crash in Marty

Father Ron Weyrens opened the doors to Holy Cross School in Marty to community members on Friday, who filtered in and out throughout the day.

"The death of three people, it's tragic," he said. "It's a small area so there's a lot of interconnectedness."

Weyrens said while no official word on the names of the guardsmen has come down, people are anxious to learn more details about what happened.

"This is terrible, but you know, we're going to be here to walk you through it," Weyrens said.

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