No serious injuries in Nevada air base chopper, jet crashes

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LAS VEGAS (AP) – A U.S. Air Force helicopter crash that injured four military members on a remote Nevada training range was the second crash in one day involving flights from a base hosting an international combat training exercise.

The crew members were treated at a base hospital for minor injuries after an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter went down Thursday during a night practice mission, Nellis Air Force Base officials said Friday.

The crash happened at an undisclosed location on the Nevada Test and Training Range, a vast area with more than 5,000 square miles of air space restricted to military operations.

A Nellis base spokesman, Senior Airman Timothy Young, provided no additional information Friday about the conditions of the injured helicopter crew members, the identity of their home units, or how the crash occurred.

Military officials in Israel and Pakistan confirmed Friday that they have units taking part in ongoing “red flag” training exercises at Nellis.

Air commodore Syed Muhammad Ali of the Pakistan Air Force compared the exercise to the Olympics for air forces.

The 55th Fighter Squadron from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina also was taking part, said Senior Airman Michael Cossaboom, a spokesman at Shaw.

The helicopter crash came less than 15 hours after a civilian contractor pilot ejected from an A-4 Skyhawk jet taking part in a separate training operation. The jet crashed a short distance from runways at Nellis, about 15 miles northeast of downtown Las Vegas.

The pilot, an employee of Draken International, based in Lakeland, Florida, wasn’t seriously hurt. Officials said he was treated for minor injuries and released from the base hospital.

He had been role-playing as an opposition pilot during a training exercise as part of a six-month training school at the base, a company official said. The jet was destroyed.

Both crashes are being investigated by the military. The jet crash is also being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board because it involved a civilian aircraft that crashed on public land.

Nellis hosts a graduate-level U.S. Air Force weapons school and also serves as home to the Thunderbirds air demonstration team.

The base is best-known internationally as host of periodic “red flag” and “green flag” training exercises. They allow air forces from the U.S. and allies to conduct mock battles over a restricted military reserve half the size of the state of New Jersey.

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