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Black Hawk crash in Alabama kills 3 soldiers

SKYLINE (AP) — Three soldiers from Fort Campbell, Ky., died when a Black Hawk helicopter struck power lines during a training flight in foggy weather and plunged into an Alabama pasture in a fiery heap, officials said Wednesday.

Jackson County Coroner John David Jordan said the UH-60 Black Hawk hit a power line and crashed into a field near a house about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday. Debris was scattered over a large area, he said, and some of the wreckage burned.

"There was fog in the area at the time, but I don't know if that was the cause," said Jordan. The fog was too thick for a helicopter ambulance to fly to the crash site, he said.

An Army spokesman at Fort Campbell, Sgt. Mark Swart, said the military had yet to release the names of the victims. They were identified as members of the 101st Aviation Regiment, 4th Battalion.

Terry Johnson, a spokesman with the Tennessee Valley Authority, said the chopper struck a high-voltage line connecting a generating plant with a power substation near Huntsville. The wires were not carrying electricity at the time of the crash because of maintenance work.

Henry Parker, who lives near the crash site, said he and his wife heard the aircraft go down.

"We saw a big ball of fire come up," he said. "And there was a big noise."

Swart declined comment on the cause of the accident.

"We'll have an investigation. We can't speculate on what happened," he said.

The Black Hawk was flying from Fort Campbell to the municipal airport in Chattanooga, Tenn., at the time of the crash, according to an Army statement. The aircraft was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade.

The crash site is about 190 miles southeast of Fort Campbell.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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