A Idaho National Guard Apache helicopter crashed Thursday just south of the Boise Airport, killing two crew members, officials said.
KTVB-TV, Boise, Idaho
BOISE — A Idaho National Guard Apache helicopter crashed Thursday just south of the Boise Airport, killing two crew members, officials said.
Stien P. Gearhart, 50, of Meridian, Idaho, and Jon L. Hartway, 43, of Kuna, Idaho died, National Guard officials said. Both had the rank of chief warrant officer 4 and were assigned to the 1-183rd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at Gowen Field.
The crash happened at about 7 p.m. MT about 2 miles south of the National Guard base near Boise International Airport. Ada County dispatch said the first report of a downed aircraft came in about 50 minutes later.
The crew members, the only soldiers on board the helicopter, were on a local nighttime training mission, said Col Tim Marsano, Idaho National Guard spokesman. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the pilots were heading to or returning from a mission.
“The men and women of the Idaho National Guard are united in grief at the loss of two of our brothers in arms, who gave their lives while training to defend our nation,” Idaho National Guard commander, Maj. Gen. Gary Sayler, said in a statement. “Today, our thoughts and prayers are with their families.”
Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter echoed those feelings.
“This tragedy reminds us of the enormous sacrifice and great risk involved in military service – whether here at home preparing to go into harm’s way or on the battle lines of freedom,” Otter said in a statement.
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All four members of Idaho’s congressional delegation issued statements saying they were praying for the families of the men, who requested privacy to deal with their grief.
Ada County Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg said his office will be performing the autopsies on the two crash victims.
The helicopter that crashed is one of 16 Apaches based at Gowen Field. Marsano said it sent an automated beacon after it crashed; no fire resulted.
The cause of the crash is not yet known and a Defense Department investigation is under way.
In another crash earlier Thursday near Panama City, Fla., Air Force officials said they have recovered the remains of an F-16 fighter jet pilot after his plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico. The airman from Tyndall Air Force Base, whose name was not released pending notification of family, was on a training mission over the Gulf when the base lost contact with him.
That incident also is under investigation.
Contributing: The Associated Press