LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah (ABC4) – Authorities say two helicopters have crashed in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Tuesday morning.
The Utah National Guard confirmed two Black Hawk UH-60 helicopters have crashed in Mineral Basin near Snowbird Ski Resort.
Officials say the crash happened during a “winter survivability and mobility training” session around 9:30 a.m.
During a Tuesday press conference, The Utah National Guard says no crew members were injured during the crash, but both helicopters sustained damage. No hydraulic fluid was leaked during the crash either, officials say.
“Aviation is an inherently dangerous business,” says Jared Jones, Utah National Guard’s Aviation Public Affairs Officer. “It was a blessing that everyone was okay.”
Officials say the crash happened during a routine training exercise that prepped aircrews for dusty, mountainous and at times “white-out” flying conditions. The aircraft landed about 150 yards off Snowbird property.
For some unknown reason, officials say when the first Black Hawk helicopter landed, it kicked up tons of snow and dislodged its main blade during the impact. The dislodged blade then struck the second nearby helicopter, causing it to crash as well.
The helicopters were landing in an approved-landing zone that has been used before.
Officials say the pilots in command were very experienced, they do not know the specific factors that may have caused the crash, although winter weather could have played a factor.
Officials don’t believe there was any negligence, but the incident is still currently under investigation. No official estimates were provided of how many passengers were inside each helicopter, but typically Black Hawk helicopters will carry around 3-4 people per cabin.
Snowbird Resort has shut down operations on the aerial tram and Little Cloud due to the incident.
All National Guard training flights have been canceled until further notice to review safety protocols and regulations.
“We are grateful that no one was seriously injured thanks to the quick reaction and training of
both command pilots,” said Maj. Matthew Green, commander 2nd GSAB. “Right now, our top
priority is taking care of both crews.”