An Army helicopter flying in a convoy from Missouri to Houston for deployment to Saudi Arabia crashed in a wooded area, killing all three people on board.
The UH-1 "Huey" helicopter crashed Friday night in Liberty County as it traveled with three other helicopters through heavy fog near Cleveland Airport, Army officials said.Cleveland is 40 miles north of Houston. The convoy was en route from Jefferson City, Mo.
Master Sgt. Ron Staszuck, spokesman for Fort Leonard Wood near Jefferson City, said the helicopter group was among a dozen UH-1s scheduled to land at Ellington Field in Houston, with eventual deployment to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield.
"They were pretty close to the Cleveland Airport," Staszuck said. "The pilot of the lead aircraft of that chalk (group of four helicopters) turned around and, seeing it go down, he landed at the Cleveland Airport."
Killed in the crash were: 1st Lt. Peter J. Rose, 26, of Lincoln, Neb., who was the pilot; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Carol L. McKinney, 36, of Leslie, Mo., who was the co-pilot; and Staff Sgt. Dallas R. Cooper, 35, of Russellville, Mo., the crew chief, said Maj. Mike Milner, spokesman at Fort Leonard Wood.
Lt. Col. David Russell of Fort Leonard said it was not immediately known whether the pilot of the crashed helicopter was using night goggles, which have been blamed for numerous military air crashes.
Army officials said it could be several weeks before a cause of the crash is known.