Two dead in helicopter crash at Wheeler Army Air Field

Col. Matthew Margotta
Col. Matthew Margotta

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

WAHIAWA (KHNL) - Two lives were lost in a helicopter crash in Central Oahu. Emergency crews rushed to Wheeler Army Airfield Wednesday where investigators must now determine exactly what went terribly wrong.

The Kiowa Warrior Helicopter belongs to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade.

A soldier was pronounced dead at the scene, the other died later at Wahiawa General Hospital. The two soldiers were the only people aboard when the chopper crashed at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon just outside the hangar area at Wheeler.

The crash wreckage, along with smoke coming from it, could clearly be seen from drivers on Kamehameha Highway.

It was a complete catastrophe. Sources say two male warrant officers of the Bravo 26-Cavalry were killed.

"There are certain risks inherent in what they do and they accept these risks," said U.S. Army Col. Matthew Margotta.

But no one ever thought this. Chopper 8 flew over what was left of the mangled mess. The helicopter experienced a horrific hard landing during a general maintenance test flight. It was supposed to be practice for a fall deployment to Iraq.

"These guys are trained to go to combat and that's what they were prepping to do," said Col. Margotta.

One officer died upon impact. The second was rushed to Wahiawa General Hospital in critical condition. Army members rushed inside with hope for his survival. But, eventually came out shocked and stunned, learning injuries to the second soldier proved to be too much. He eventually died in the emergency room.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family members," said Col. Margotta.

Many of the incident's details are still unknown. Until then, at Wheeler Army Airfield, it will be a time to mourn.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Meanwhile Army officials are withholding the identities of the victims until their families can be notified of their death.