A 160th Special Operations Air Regiment MH-60M Black Hawk made a hard landing aboard the USNS Red Cloud (T-AKR-313) about 20 miles off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, at around 2AM local time last night. Seven of the 17 individuals onboard the helicopter are reported to have been injured in the crash, with the other ten walking away unscathed.
Check out these videos for a full view of the crash site:
Regardless of the tarps being strewn across areas of the helicopter, the MH-60M appears to be in a standard configuration, and is not in any way a stealthy version of the Black Hawk like those used in the Bin Laden raid.
The special operations community regularly use U.S. Navy vessels to practice boarding operations. As such, although the incident is regrettable, there is seemingly nothing uncommon about the mission leading up to it. Landing or fast roping commandos onto a deck of a moving vessel in the dark of night is a challenging task to say the least. and barring mechanical issues that the helicopter could have experienced, accidents are not unheard of. Just navigating to and from the objective can be deadly, as the Army experienced just months ago off the shore of Florida.
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