The U.S. Army is involved in the investigation into a snowmobile collision with a stationary Blackhawk helicopter in Worthington Tuesday night.
The chopper had just landed and was parked on an airstrip on Huntington Road. The injured snowmobile rider had to be air-lifted to the hospital via LifeStar air ambulance. He is in stable condition.
The helicopter was from Fort Drum Army Base in upstate New York and landed in Worthington around 7 p.m., as part of a routine training flight. Army Base spokeswoman, Julie Halpin told 22News the aircraft had pre-arranged to land there after some daytime training and was waiting for the sun to set so they could fly home using night-vision goggles.
The Blackhawk, HH60M, was carrying five crew members including two pilots and three crew chiefs who, according to Halpin, were not hurt. They were aboard the aircraft at the time of impact. The condition of the 44-year-old man who crashed into the aircraft remains unknown.
Emergency services were called shortly before 8 p.m. after the snowmobile collided with the Army aircraft on Albert Farms airstrip. Environmental Police spokeswoman Katie Gronendyke told 22News, “the operator was riding the snowmobile along a designated snowmobile trail” when he ran into the rear of the Blackhawk helicopter.
Two U.S. Army personnel performed first aid on the victim. State Police, Worthington Fire and Rescue, Huntington Police, and Environmental Police responded. Crews had to carry the man through snow to the landing zone they had set up for the air ambulance. Paramedics continued to care for him until the LifeStar helicopter arrived.
The impact damaged the horizontal stabilator on the rear of the helicopter. Halpin told 22News the crash is being investigated by the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade Safety Office.
The helicopter was originally flying from and back to Fort Drum, Halpin said.
A second helicopter landed Wednesday afternoon with crews and parts to repair the damaged chopper. Both helicopters flew away about two hours later.
One Worthington residents told 22News the airport is part of a designated snowmobile trail.
“Unfortunately, something horrible happened as a result,” said Jill Shippee. “I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault it’s just one of those things. It’s an accident for a reason So hoping for the best and praying for the family.”
Worthington Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, Hilltown Community Ambulance, Lifestar 3, the Huntington Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Massachusetts Environmental Police assisted with the incident, which is still under investigation.