Three Idaho Army National Guard personnel were killed after their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed south of Lucky Peak near Boise shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday according to a news release from the Idaho Army National Guard.

All three personnel aboard were pilots with the Idaho Army National Guard participating in a routine training flight.

“This is a tremendous loss to the Idaho National Guard and our community,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, adjutant general of Idaho and commander of the Idaho National Guard. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones as we work through this tragedy.”

Col. Christopher Burt, the Idaho Army National Guard’s state aviation officer confirmed the aircraft was last contacted at 7:45 p.m. Once the Emergency Transmitter Locator device aboard the aircraft was activated shortly after 8 p.m., his team immediately initiated emergency aircraft recovery procedures, which included air and ground search and rescue crews.

At approximately 12:15 a.m. Wednesday morning, crews located the aircraft and personnel.  The cause of the accident is unknown and an investigation will begin promptly.

Idaho National Guard Public Affairs Officer Lt. Col Christopher Borders spoke with KIDO Talk Radio's Kevin Miller this morning on the loss.  "We suffered a tremendous loss last night with three of our members.... Experiencing.... a black hawk helicopter crash, and we're dealing with notifications of the family right now I just want the family to know our hearts, our thoughts, and our prayers are with them. This is a huge loss for the guard and our community.... for Idaho.. and the entire nation. Those families are a part of our guard family here and we'll be with them through this and support them... throughout always."

The Idaho National Guard has a unique bond of service and sacrifice.  Lt. Colonel Borders explained how the community reinforces that military bond.  "Of course, we work with them we live in the same community as them, we see them every day. This is what the guard is, we are all community members. I knew all three of these fine gentlemen we all do. We get to know them; we spend our entire careers working with one another. so... it's a tremendous loss... words can't even describe it."

Military training is very dangerous.  Despite the dangerous facing them, our protectors in the military face those dangers daily.  Lt. Colonel Borders explained why so many answer the call to serve their country.   "Serving the in the military is inherently risky we all know that there are risks and we do everything in our power to mitigate those risks... but sometimes things are behind our control. This was a routine training flight, last night schedule take off time approximately 7pm last night. We heard from them a few times checking in routinely, and then that last time we heard from them was at about 7:45 then shortly after 8 pm the Air Force rescue coordination center notified us that their emergency locator transmitter had signaled in an area in the Danskin mountains near three-point mountain top. This is a very remote area and the weather had been... you know by the time we immediately responded once we were notified that the ELT had signaled but the initial aircraft sent to search was pushed back when weather conditions had significantly deteriorated so, we turned around and immediately launched a ground crew. Then Sometime around 11 the weather improved enough to send an aircraft back out. Shortly after 12:15 or sometime after midnight that our rescue crew located the aircraft.... then confirmed that there were no survivors. So, Elmore county sheriff is helping us out this morning they have secured the sight and were now entering a recovery operation. That's all the information I have right now. Kevin, I apologize but i need to get back to working with our personnel on this."

Governor Little orders state flags at half staff.  He issued the following in a release:

"Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the loss of 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. 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,” Governor Little said.

 

The full text of the Governor's flag directive follows:

 

Please be advised that flags should be lowered to half-staff starting Wednesday, February 3, 2021, for the tragic loss of three Idaho Army National Guard personnel who lost their lives during a training flight.

 

The flags will be at half-staff Wednesday, February 3, 2021, until the day following the final memorial service, per Idaho Code 67-820.

Directive: American flags and State of Idaho flags shall be flown at half-staff from Wednesday, February 3, 2021, until the day following the final memorial service

Names of the deceased are being withheld until after next of kin have been notified.

Rose Garden at Julia Davis Park