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Minnesota state leaders react to helicopter crash that killed 3 National Guard soldiers

Gov. Tim Walz speaks at a press conference regarding a Minnesota National Guard helicopter crash. Photo: KSTP
Gov. Tim Walz speaks at a press conference regarding a Minnesota National Guard helicopter crash.

Updated: December 06, 2019 07:40 PM

Minnesota state leaders offered their condolences Thursday after a helicopter crash in Stearns County killed three Minnesota National Guard soldiers.

Gov. Tim Walz announced the death of the entire crew aboard the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during news conference Thursday night.

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"On behalf of all Minnesotans, we offer our deepest sympathies to the families of these warriors, they paid the ultimate price in their service to Minnesota and the United States of America," Walz said. "Words will never ease the pain of this tragic loss and the State of Minnesota is forever in the debt of these warriors."

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar expressed her condolences on Twitter, stating, "Three brave Minnesota National Guard soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. I'm deeply saddened — my thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones and with the entire Minnesota National Guard Community, at home and overseas."

Sen. Tina Smith reacted on Twitter, too.

"This is a devastating loss for Minnesota," she said. "Words can’t express my sadness for these three soldiers and their families. I’m thinking of all @MNNationalGuard members and their families tonight."

Congressman Dean Phillips said in a tweet he recently rode in a Black Hawk helicopter from St. Paul to St. Cloud with Minnesota National Guard members. He called the crew "remarkable."

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

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) said in a statement, "The Minnesota House of Representatives sends its deepest condolences to the families of the National Guard service members who passed away in this tragic accident. ... Minnesotans and Americans honor their service and sacrifice."

State Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) issued a news release on behalf of Minnesota House Republicans. According to the statement, Dettmer is a 25-year veteran for the U.S. Army Reserves.

"We are heartbroken and devastated by the loss of three heroic Minnesotans. Our prayers tonight are with the fmailies of the crew members, our National Guard Commander-in-Chief Governor Walz, and Adjutant General Jensen. We are also tremendously grateful for our first responders who rushed to the crashs ite fromt he region and other parts of the state."

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) said on Twitter that, "All Minnesotans are united in grief for our National Guard members who died today."

"Today’s accident reminds us of the dangerous job we ask them to do on a daily basis. No matter where they die, they are all heroes."

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Authorities said they will be at scene of the crash for multiple days investigating.

"Our Minnesota National Guard family is devastated by the deaths of these soldiers," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, the Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "Our priority right now is ensuring that our families are taken care of."

More information on the crash is expected to be released at a later time.

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Kyle Brown

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