MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — On Wednesday, shortly after 3:00 p.m., a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flown by two Tennessee National Guard members crashed in Madison County, Alabama.
The aircraft seemingly fell out of the sky and crashed into Highway 53.
Several people saw and heard the crash.
“It sounded like something was going horribly wrong,” said Danny Schleitwiler. He lives in a neighborhood just off Highway 53, near the crash site.
Schleitwiler said he was in his kitchen when it flew by and he heard the crash.
“I heard something go by the house, it rattled the house, it rattled the windows and we heard a loud bang.”
Schleitwiler wasn’t the only one in the neighborhood who heard the crash.
“The whole neighborhood really just heard the engine kind of sputtering and a loud crash,” said Joe Bice. “We all ran out to see what was going on and we saw the plume of smoke” he added.
A statement released by the Tennessee National Guard on Thursday afternoon identified the two crash victims. Both soldiers had more than a dozen years of service with the Tennessee National Guard.
The statement said the UH-60 Blackhawk was “approaching the Huntsville Executive Airport when the aircraft rapidly descended and impacted the ground.”
What happened will stick with Davy Hunt, who was driving on Highway 53 and actually saw the whole thing happen.
“It was definitely an unforgettable thing that happened,” Hunt said. He said he was driving on Highway 53 when he heard a helicopter flying near by.
He said he had looked out his window and that’s when he first noticed something might be wrong.
“I looked up and found it, and it was flying kind of erratically, you know, I knew something was off but I didn’t know what it was,” Hunt said.
Hunt said he “instinctively got on the phone and called 911 immediately.”
When he was on the phone with the dispatcher he said he initially lost track of where the helicopter had gone and then, “about that time he nosedived right in front of where my van was at.”
Hunt said the explosion followed after the helicopter made impact with the ground.
The crash is still under investigation by federal and state officials.