SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Two U.S. Army Special Operations soldiers were killed and three others were injured during an aircraft incident, a U.S. Army official confirmed.
The incident happened around 7 p.m. Thursday evening during what was described by a U.S. Army Special Operations Command public affairs officer as “routine training.”
Department of Defense officials confirmed a Blackhawk helicopter crashed on or near San Clemente Island.
An Army Public Affairs Officer sent ABC 10News a statement reading: “An element of U.S. Army Special Operations Command was conducting routine training in the vicinity of Coronado, California, on August 27, when an aircraft incident occurred. Two Soldiers were killed and three were injured. The area has been secured and an investigation into the incident is underway. More information will be released 24-hours following next of kin notification. Our sincere condolences go out the families and friends of the deceased. We thank you for not contacting them during this difficult time.”
ABC 10News learned the soldiers were taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital following the incident.
Brian MacPherson saw the helicopters land at the hospital, "I knew something was really really wrong ... My mind immediately went to sympathy for that soldier because I knew a sacrifice had been made."
He said the first responders ran out with a gurney, "it looked like one of the doctors jumping on the gurney, straddling the injured soldier and providing CPR that is just something dramatic it caused me tears driving to work, just thinking about the sacrifice that our military is making even in training."
"It saddens me that some of our elite members that are sent to protect our freedoms were injured in training, preparing for the ultimate sacrifice which in this case two of them made for us," he said.
Just last month, on July 30, another military training accident occurred off the coast of San Clemente Island when an amphibious assault vehicle accident began to take on water and sank, killing nine service members.
ABC 10News will update this story as more information becomes available.