Pentagon identifies US troops killed in Blackhawk helicopter crash in Mediterranean Sea

Washington says crash that killed five soldiers was not caused by enemy actions

Aircraft carriers Gerald R Ford, left, and Dwight D Eisenhower sail in formation in the Mediterranean Sea. DoD / AFP
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The US Defence Department on Monday confirmed that five soldiers had been killed during routine flight training in the Mediterranean Sea last week.

The Pentagon said in a statement that the MH-60 Blackhawk was conducting an aerial refuelling training exercise when an “in-flight emergency” resulted in a crash. The department said there were no indications it was caused by “enemy/hostile actions”.

The Pentagon identified the five servicemembers as Stephen Dwyer, Shane Barnes, Tanner Grone, Andrew Southard and Cade Wolf.

The US Army's Combat Readiness Centre is investigating the incident, the Pentagon said.

US European Command first confirmed the fatal crash on Sunday. It did not specify where the accident occurred.

Washington has sent two aircraft carriers to the Eastern Mediterranean to deter potential actors from becoming involved in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said the accident is a reminder that US troops “put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our country safe”.

President Joe Biden honoured the five servicemembers in statement on Sunday, commending the risks soldiers undertake to protect the US.

“And their daily bravery and selflessness is an enduring testament to what is best in our nation,” he said.

Updated: November 14, 2023, 5:42 AM