NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As investigators work to piece together what caused the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter into the Gulf of Mexico, others want to know just how safe the helicopters are.
The army heavily relies on Black Hawks on and off the battlefield. Army officials say the training involved in these exercises is designed to mimic the exact type of maneuvers used in combat.
Accidents do happen on occasion.
The specs on the aircraft show the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter can travel over 170 miles per hour and can carry up to 11 combat equipped troops or 20 lightly equipped personnel.
Army officials say the airframe of the UH-60 is designed to crush on impact to protect the crew and passengers.
ArmyAirCrews.com, a site which tracks and monitors Black Hawk helicopter crashes, details 12 crashes involving different models of the UH-60 Black Hawk in the past five years.
All of them were in combat in Afghanistan. But another crash in Virginia in October of 2009 happened during similar night training conditions.
Unfortunately, in this situation, it would appear even the most sophisticated technology available on this helicopter was not enough to save the lives of the 11 service members presumed dead.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.