A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed near an Alabama highway on Wednesday afternoon, killing two Tennessee National Guardsmen who were conducting a training flight, WAAY-TV reported.
As of Thursday morning, Highway 53 in Harvest, Alabama, was still blocked off as federal and state authorities continued investigating the fatal helicopter crash that occurred around 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Don Webster, a Huntsville Emergency Medical Services spokesperson, reported that the helicopter caught fire upon impact. Law enforcement has not released details about what led up to the crash.
Tammy Adams, a bystander driving along the highway when the fatal accident occurred, told WAAY, "I just hollered, 'My Lord! My God!' Because nobody could have survived that."
"We heard a very loud — like a car without a muffler, but we knew it was in the sky. Looking up in the air, we saw the helicopter, and BAM! We hear it hit. We saw it hit the ground, and it exploded," Adams added.
The Tennessee National Guard confirmed that the two crew members on board the aircraft did not survive the incident. Additional identifying information has not been released.
Madison County Coroner Tyler Berryhill reported that the guardsmen's remains were extracted from the crash site Wednesday evening. Autopsies will be conducted at a later date by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner's Office.
No additional injuries were reported.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of two Tennessee National Guardsmen, and our prayers are with their families during this heartbreaking tragedy," said Brig. Gen. Warner Ross, Tennessee's adjutant general. "We ask Tennesseans to join us in supporting their families during this time of unthinkable grief."
Alabama Rep. Dale Strong (R) posted on Twitter, "I'm deeply saddened by the fatal helicopter crash that happened in Madison County today. My heart hurts for those who lost their lives in this tragic incident and for their families as they learn of this news."
"I am in communication with local and state officials to learn the details of this crash. Right now we know it was a Black Hawk that crashed in north Madison County. There are no survivors," Strong added.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) tweeted, "Maria & I are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of two Tennessee National Guard members. Please join us in lifting their families up in prayer & support during this time of unspeakable grief."
According to the Madison County Sheriff's Office, authorities anticipate that Highway 53 will remain closed in both directions "well into the later afternoon hours" Thursday.
"We expect heavy delays in this area throughout the evening," the sheriff's office stated.
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