UPDATE: Black Hawk helicopter crashes in Minnesota with 3 aboard

National
THURSDAY 12/5/19 4:55 p.m.

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter carrying three crew members has crashed near Pearl Lake after it lost contact with the base Thursday afternoon. Minnesota National Guard Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens told the St. Cloud Times.

The Guard lost contact with the helicopter shortly after taking off on a maintenance test flight from St. Cloud on Thursday afternoon, Heusdens said. The helicopter called mayday about 9 minutes after takeoff.

“Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our Guardsmen and our thoughts are with our soldiers and their families at this time,” Heusdens said in a statement before the crash was confirmed.

The Guard’s base near St. Cloud Regional Airport has been in operation since 2009, with Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters maintained there.

Black Hawk helicopter missing after takeoff in Minnesota

THURSDAY 12/5/19 4:44 p.m.

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota National Guard says a Black Hawk helicopter with three people aboard is missing after taking off in central Minnesota.

Guard Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens says the Guard lost contact with the helicopter shortly after it took off on a maintenance test flight from St. Cloud on Thursday afternoon.

Heusdens says the Guard is “working to figure it out.” The Guard lost contact with the helicopter around 2 p.m.

“Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our Guardsmen and our thoughts are with our soldiers and their families at this time,” Heusdens said in a statement.

The Guard’s base near St. Cloud Regional Airport has been in operation since 2009, with Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters maintained there.

Gov. Tim Walz canceled a tree-lighting ceremony, and a spokesman said he was in contact with the Guard and monitoring developments from the Capitol. Walz served in the Army National Guard before eventually becoming a schoolteacher and coach.

The St. Cloud Times reports the Minnesota State Patrol was called to bring in a helicopter to help with the search. A State Patrol Cirrus aircraft, equipped with thermal imaging cameras, is also helping in the search.

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