Soldier from New Jersey among 9 victims killed in Army helicopter training crash

WABC logo
Friday, March 31, 2023
Helicopter crash near Fort Campbell leaves 9 dead
Nine people were killed in a crash involving two Army Black Hawk helicopters conducting a nighttime training exercise near Fort Campbell in Kentucky.

FORT CAMPBELL, Kentucky (WABC) -- One of the victims killed in the Army helicopter crash in Kentucky on Wednesday was from New Jersey.

Nine people were killed in the crash involving two Army Black Hawk helicopters conducting a nighttime training exercise in Fort Campbell.

The U.S. Army identified all of the victims on Friday afternoon.

Sgt. David Solinas Jr, 23, was from Oradell, New Jersey.

"This is a time of great sadness for the 101st Airborne Division. The loss of these Soldiers will reverberate through our formations for years to come," said Maj. Gen. JP McGee, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell. "Now is the time for grieving and healing. The whole division and this community stand behind the families and friends of our fallen Soldiers."

The other victims were also identified:

-Warrant Officer 1 Jeffery Barnes, 33, of Milton, Florida

-Cpl. Emilie Marie Eve Bolanos, 23, of Austin, Texas

-Chief Warrant Officer 2 Zachary Esparza, 36, of Jackson, Missouri

-Sgt. Isaacjohn Gayo, 27, of Los Angeles, California

-Staff Sgt. Joshua C. Gore, 25, of Morehead City, North Carolina

-Warrant Officer 1 Aaron Healy, 32, of Cape Coral, Florida

-Staff Sgt. Taylor Mitchell, 30, of Mountain Brook, Alabama

-Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rusten Smith, 32, of Rolla, Missouri

Last month, two Tennessee National Guard pilots were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed along an Alabama highway during a training exercise.

The Black Hawk helicopter is a critical work horse for the U.S. Army, providing key security, transport, medical evacuations, search and rescue and other missions. It was a frequent sight in the skies over Iraq and Afghanistan during the wars conducting combat missions and is also used by the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Black Hawks were also often used to ferry visiting senior leaders to headquarters locations in the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

ALSO READ | Woman from 1991 brutal homicide identified; investigators search for her child

Investigators have identified the woman in 1991 cold case on Staten Island. Kristin Thorne has the details.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New Jersey news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.