Three pilots with the Army National Guard were killed when their helicopter crashed during a training mission in southern Idaho on Tuesday night, authorities said.
Chief warrant Officers Jesse Anderson, George “Geoff” Laubhan and Matthew Peltzer were on a UH-60 Black Hawk, Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, adjutant general of Idaho and commander of the Idaho National Guard, said in a statement.
The accident happened just south of Lucky Peak, which is a little more than 10 miles southeast of the state capital in Boise, shortly after 8 p.m. local time, authorities said.
Anderson, 43, of Nampa, was a senior instructor pilot who had served in the Idaho Army National Guard since 2008. Laubhan, 39, of Boise, was an instructor pilot with more than a decade of service. Peltzer, 43, of Nampa, was a pilot who had served in the Idaho Army National Guard since 2005.
All were married with children.
“This is a tremendous loss to the Idaho National Guard and our community,” Garshak said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones as we work through this tragedy.”
The Black Hawk’s last contact was about 7:45 p.m. and an emergency transmitter locator on the aircraft was activated just after 8 p.m., immediately launching a search, according to Col. Christopher Burt, the Idaho Army National Guard’s state aviation officer.
Rescuers found the wreckage and crew about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday. The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately determined.
“I am saddened to learn about the passing of three brave pilots,” U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said in a statement. “My condolences are with the family and friends of our heroic Idaho National Guardsmen.”
And U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, said he and his wife “are praying for the families and friends of the three Idaho National Guard soldiers who were killed during a training flight last night.”
“Our citizen-soldiers embody a spirit of service and the best of American patriotism, and this loss is felt deeply throughout Idaho,” Simpson added.