Navy Investigating Cause of Seahawk Hard Landing During Idaho Exercise

U.S. Soldiers with the 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera) travel aboard an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter to gather aerial photographs during Exercise Southern Raider 13 at Fort Pickett, Va., March 4, 2013. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle)
U.S. Soldiers with the 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera) travel aboard an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter to gather aerial photographs during Exercise Southern Raider 13 at Fort Pickett, Va., March 4, 2013. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle)

Navy officials are looking into what caused a helicopter to make a hard landing during a recent training event at an Air Force base.

An MH-60S Seahawk assigned to Virginia-based Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26 made a hard landing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, on Aug. 16. Five air crew members were on board at the time of the mishap, but there were no injuries, said Cmdr. Ron Flanders, a spokesman for the commander of Naval Air Forces.

"The cause of the mishap is under investigation," he added.

The hard landing occurred "in FARP prior to refueling operations," according to a report from the Naval Safety Center. That means the landing occurred at a location set up on the ground as a Forward Arming and Refueling Point.

The hard landing was classified as a Class-A mishap, which means there was loss of life or the aircraft suffered at least $2 million in damages.

The Seahawk's hard landing marked the Navy's 14th Class-A aviation mishap in fiscal 2018, according to Naval Safety Center data. The fiscal year started Oct. 1. At least eight service members have been killed in those accidents and two more injured.

It's not immediately clear whether the Seahawk helicopter was damaged beyond repair in the incident, or if it'll be fixed and returned to the fleet.

Lawmakers have called on military leaders to address the high rates of training accidents, which have killed more troops than combat over the last several years.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ginaaharkins.

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