Three National Guard soldiers killed when Black Hawk crashes in Minnesota

Three soldiers with the Minnesota National Guard were killed Thursday when a Black Hawk helicopter they were flying in crashed near St. Cloud, officials said.

The doomed chopper took from the St. Cloud Aviation Facility for a maintenance test flight and was reported missing about 2:05 p.m. local time once the Minnesota National Guard lost contact with the aircraft, authorities said.

By 5 p.m., the Minnesota National Guard confirmed the helicopter had crashed in a field about 16 miles southwest of St. Cloud.

“Our Minnesota National Guard family is devastated by the deaths of these soldiers,” Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, the Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard, said in a statement.

“Our priority right now is ensuring that our families are taken care of.”

The identifies of soldiers are being withheld pending family notification, officials said.

An investigation into the crash is underway, which will be led by the Army Aviation Center at Fort Rucker in Alabama, who as of Thursday night were en route the crash sight, authorities said

At a Thursday night press conference, Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz, said “The state of Minnesota is forever in the debt of these warriors.”

“My heart breaks for the families, the friends, and the fellow soldiers,” of the victims, said Waltz, himself a former Minnesota Guard member.

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