Three Idaho Army National Guard members died during a training exercise when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed near Boise on Tuesday, the National Guard said.
The three were all trained pilots participating in a routine training flight, a National Guard statement said.
Idaho Army National Guard Col. Christopher Burt said the aircraft was last contacted at 7:45 p.m. After an emergency transmitter locator device aboard the aircraft was activated shortly after 8 p.m., personnel were dispatched to search for the helicopter.
At around 12:15 a.m. Wednesday, crews located the helicopter and personnel near Lucky Peak, according to the statement.
“This is a tremendous loss to the Idaho National Guard and our community,” Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones as we work through this tragedy.”
The cause of the crash is unknown and an investigation will begin immediately, the statement said. The National Guard is not identifying the pilots pending notification of their next of kin.
Gov. Brad Little has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of the “three brave and talented pilots killed during service to our state and nation.”
“Their tragic deaths leave an emptiness in the lives of their families and loved ones, the entire National Guard community, and all of us,” Little said in a statement. “Our women and men in the Idaho National Guard bravely take on the inherent dangers of their work to serve the people of Idaho and the United States whenever called upon. As Idahoans, let’s quiet ourselves and reflect on their courage and sacrifice. Please join me in prayer for the heroes we lost and seek to comfort all the lives they touched.”