Two Army helicopters that collided during a mock rescue, killing six and injuring 28, were flying side by side when one suddenly veered into the other, a videotape showed.
"It was not a case of them hovering too close," said Maj. Joe Howell, a post spokesman who witnessed the crash and reviewed a spectator's videotape of Tuesday's accident.The main rotor blades of the two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters hit each other, Howell said.
Nine soldiers remained in critical condition this morning, including four who were evacuated to Vanderbilt University Hospital in nearby Nashville, Tenn., the Army said. The other five were in the intensive-care unit at Blanchfield Army Hospital at the post.
One of the pilots survived and was interviewed by investigators, Howell said.
The spinning wreckage fell about 100 feet, just missing the location of a staged accident where soldiers lay on the ground feigning injuries. A third helicopter taking part in the exercise managed to fly off safely.
It was the military's second fatal helicopter collision in just over a month, and the second at Fort Campbell this year.
The dead and injured soldiers were from the elite 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell, which straddles the Kentucky-Tennessee line. The soldiers were preparing to slide down ropes when the crash occurred.