Three dead in Texas crash of US military helicopter on border patrol

By Thomson Reuters Mar 8, 2024 | 10:10 PM

(Reuters) – A National Guard helicopter assigned to patrol duty along the U.S.-Mexico border crashed in Texas on Friday, killing two soldiers and a U.S. Border Patrol agent who were aboard and injuring another soldier, military officials said.

The UH-72 Lakota helicopter went down near Rio Grande City, Texas, around 2:50 p.m. (2050 GMT) while conducting aerial “monitoring and detection” operations at the border, said U.S. Army Major Ryan Wierzbicki.

The cause of the crash was under investigation, the Army said. Wierzbicki said he had no information about weather conditions at the time of the accident.

The names of the dead and injured were being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The chopper was assigned to a federal Southwest border support mission with Joint Task Force North, attached to the army outpost at Fort Bliss, Texas, Wierzbicki said.

The aircraft was not part of Operation Lone Star, a state-directed border enforcement program launched in 2021 by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, using Texas National Guard troops and the Texas Department of Public Safety, the major said.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by William Mallard)