Two Special Ops Soldiers Killed, Three Injured in Helicopter Accident

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A U.S. Army UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopter flies.
A U.S. Army UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopter flies overhead during a training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Chase Cannon)

WASHINGTON -- Two special operations soldiers were killed Thursday and three others injured in a helicopter crash during routine training off the California coast, officials said Friday.

An element of U.S. Army Special Operations Command was conducting the training in the vicinity of Coronado, Calif., when the "aircraft incident" occurred, a SOCOM spokesperson said in a statement. The area has been secured and an investigation into the incident is underway.

More information about the incident will be provided 24-hours after next-of-kin notifications, the spokesperson said.

The helicopter was a Black Hawk and the soldiers killed and injured are from the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, citing a Defense Department official. The 160th SOAR is headquartered out of Fort Campbell, Ky., and provides rotary wing support to special operations forces.

The defense official also told The San Diego Union-Tribune that the helicopter crashed Thursday evening on San Clemente Island, which is about 70 miles west of Coronado and San Diego.

The island is where eight Marines and a sailor with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit died June 30 off its coast in an amphibious assault vehicle accident as they were returning to their ship after finishing training there. Their bodies were recovered Aug. 7 and a memorial ceremony was held Aug. 21 by their unit.

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