Bodies of guardsmen killed in helicopter crash being transferred to Delaware for autopsies
The Tennessee National Guard and the Governor of Tennessee has released a statement on the crash.
HARVEST, Ala. (WAFF) - The bodies of the two men who were killed in a helicopter crash on Feb. 15 were transferred from Madison County on Friday, according to Madison County Coroner Dr. Tyler Berryhill.
Dr. Berryhill says the full autopsy and identification will be conducted through the Armed Forces Medical Examiner. Dr. Berryhill released the following statement about the guardsmen being transferred to Dover, Delaware:
“The military personnel, who were killed in the helicopter crash on Highway 53, are scheduled to be transferred today [Friday] with a law enforcement escort from Madison County. The remains will be traveling to a mortuary service in Enterprise, Alabama, where they will later be transferred by air from Pensacola, Florida to Dover, Delaware. The autopsies will be performed by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner in Dover.”
Per Dover Councilman Alex Berta and the Dover City Clerk, the guardsmen killed were Chief Warrant Officer 3 Daniel Wadham of Joelton, Tenn. and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Danny Randolph OF Murfreesboro, Tenn.
CWO 3 Daniel Wadham served 15 years and CWO 3 Randolph served 13 years, both were assigned to A Company, 1-230th Assault Helicopter Battalion, from Nashville’s Berry Field Air National Guard Base.
The Tennessee National Guard confirmed that the servicemen were on a training flight and were approaching the Huntsville Executive Airport when the crash happened.
“Words cannot express my sorrow for the loss of these two Tennessee National Guardsmen,” Brigadier General Warner Ross said. “It is felt not only within the ranks of the Tennessee National Guard, but across our entire military community. We ask that Tennesseans continue to join us in prayer for these soldiers’ families amid this tragic loss.”
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office announced that Hwy. 53, Jeff Road, Douglas Road and the highway stretch between Research Park Blvd. and Jeff Road will be closed until further notice.
Deputies have recommended traveling over to Hazel Green to use Pulaski Pike or Hwy. 231/431 to get into Huntsville and Old Railroad Bed Road or Wall Triana from Hwy. 53 to get to Madison.
Madison County Coroner Tyler Berryhill says the recovery efforts for the two military personnel were completed after 3 hours on the scene. A preliminary examination of the bodies has been completed.
The Tennessee National Guard released the following statement about the accident:
At approximately 3:00 p.m. CST today, a Tennessee National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter crashed while conducting a training flight near Highway 53 and Burwell Road in Huntsville, Alabama. The Madison County Sherriff’s Department in Alabama responded to the crash site and reported two crew members onboard were killed.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of two Tennessee National Guardsmen, and our prayers are with their families during this heartbreaking tragedy,” said Brig. Gen. Warner Ross, Tennessee’s Adjutant General. “We ask Tennesseans to join us in supporting their families during this time of unthinkable grief.”
No other service members or civilians were harmed in this incident. Federal and state authorities are investigating the crash. The Tennessee National Guard will support law enforcement and other first responders handling the crash site and provide more information as details become available.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee sent out his condolences and support to the families of the two people killed.
Don Webster with Huntsville Emergency Medical Services, Inc. (HEMSI) said the call of the crash came in at 3:01 p.m. and happened at the intersection of Burwell Road and Highway 53.
The following video was captured by a WAFF viewer’s doorbell camera when the helicopter crashed.
Webster says the helicopter caught fire upon impact and no cars or pedestrians were injured as a result of the crash.
MCSO Public Information Officer Brent Patterson confirmed that the helicopter involved was a Black Hawk. Burwell Road was closed and motorists are being detoured to Douglas Road until further notice.
Team Redstone released the following statement on the crash:
Redstone Arsenal leaders are aware of reports of a helicopter incident near Highway 53 in Huntsville. First responders are on scene, and Redstone Arsenal is in full support of local authorities in their active investigation. Initial investigations have determined that the incident is not connected to Redstone Arsenal assets, and we will continue to support community authorities as the situation develops.
Alabama Representative Dale Strong posted a tweet sending his condolences to those who lost their lives in the crash.
I’m deeply saddened by the fatal helicopter crash that happened in Madison County today.— Dale W. Strong (@RepDaleStrong) February 15, 2023
My heart hurts for those who lost their lives in this tragic incident and for their families as they learn of this news.
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