Army Investigating Fatal Crash of TN National Guard Helicopter

Army investigators are probing the cause of a National Guard helicopter crash that killed two Knoxville pilots in Campbell County over the weekend, according to the News Sentinel.
Tennessee Army National Guard 1st Lt. Thomas Joseph Williams Jr., 26, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Daniel Cole, 41, were killed when their OH-58D Kiowa Warrior went down near Exit 141 on Interstate 75 about 5:30 p.m. Saturday, said Tennessee Military Department spokesman Randy Harris.
The two pilots – both members of the 1/230th Air Cavalry Squadron, Troop C, based at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base – were conducting a routine training flight at the time, he said.
The cause of the crash is unknown. An Army aviation safety team from Fort Rucker, Ala., is investigating, Harris said.
A LaFollette Utilities Board spokesperson said the aircraft struck power lines at some point in the course of the crash, causing brief outages in the surrounding area.
…”We as a state mourn with the families of 1st Lt. Thomas Joseph Williams Jr. and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Daniel Cole and our thoughts and prayers are with them,” Haslam said. “This is a somber reminder of how our troops face life-threatening situations in training as well as in combat.”
The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior is the armed attack version of the OH-58 Kiowa observation and reconnaissance helicopter.
Two other Warrior pilots from the 1/230th’s Troop C – Capt. Marcus R. Alford Sr., 28, of Knoxville, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Billie Jean Grinder, 25, of Gallatin – were killed in a crash while deployed with the squadron near Mosul, Iraq in February 2010.
Family members of Alford and Grinder filed a lawsuit earlier this year in Knox County Circuit Court alleging that the helicopter’s electronic control system was a direct and proximate cause of their deaths because the helicopter’s producers were negligent in failing to correct and remove unsafe, dangerous and defective conditions about which they should have known.

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