Updated: Nov. 13, 11:30 a.m.
Five American service members, including one from Minnesota, were killed during a training exercise after a military Black Hawk helicopter crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday morning, defense officials said.
The incident occurred during a routine air refueling mission, the U.S. European Command said in a news release.
Search and rescue efforts began immediately, EUCOM said. An investigation into the crash is underway.
The Department of Defense announced Monday that Army Sgt. Cade Wolfe, 24, of Mankato, Minn., was among the five service members who died in the crash. The Mankato Free Press reported that Wolfe was a 2018 graduate of Mankato East High School.
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The Associated Press reported that Wolfe enlisted in the Army in 2018 as a UH-60 repairer and served as an MH-60M crew chief. His awards and decorations include two Army Commendation medals and an Army Achievement medal.
The others who died in the crash include Chief Warrant Officer Stephen Dwyer, 38, of Clarksville, Tenn.; Chief Warrant Officer Shane Barnes, 34, of Sacramento, Calif., Staff Sgt. Tanner Grone, 26, of Gorham, N.H.; and Sgt. Andrew Southard, 27, of Apache Junction, Ariz.
A U.S. aircraft carrier and accompanying ships are operating in the Mediterranean as part of a strengthened presence to deter Iran from getting directly involved in the war between Israel and Hamas.
Officials said there was no indication of hostile fire. The Black Hawk was from the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment based at Fort Campbell, Ky.
"While we continue to gather more information about this deadly crash, it is another stark reminder that the brave men and women who defend our great nation put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our country safe," Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement. "They represent the best of America. We will remember their service and their sacrifice."
It's the latest in a string of fatal crashes that have occurred during military exercises in recent years.
In August, an aircraft crash during a military training exercise in north Australia's Melville Island killed three of the 23 Marines aboard. Prior to the August crash, there had been five fatal crashes of Marine Osprey aircrafts since 2012, causing a total of 16 deaths.
In 2021, five sailors died after a Seahawk helicopter crashed off the San Diego coast during routine Navy operations.
NPR's Tom Bowman and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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