An Army AH-64 Apache helicopter made a hard landing after striking power lines over the Columbia River Friday afternoon, sparking a wildfire and causing State Route 243 south of Vantage, Washington, to close, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.
The helicopter, which was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was involved in a training exercise over the river when the aircraft hit Bonneville Power Administration power lines that cross the river between Mattawa and Beverly, said Kyle Foreman, public information officer at the sheriff’s office.
He said the helicopter, occupied by a pilot and copilot, flew another mile before making an emergency landing at about 4:40 p.m. along the shore of the river. The two occupants were uninjured.
The small wildfire that resulted from the crash was put out by local fire agencies, Foreman said.
He said the power lines were removed from the highway, which reopened about an hour after the crash. Some lines fell in the river and remained there as of 6 p.m.
Foreman said lines were still wrapped around the helicopter, which appeared to be intact, at about 6:20 p.m. He said he was unsure how the aircraft was going to be transported from the scene.
The pilot and copilot were taken back to the training center on another helicopter. Foreman said the military will investigate the incident.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on October 4, 2023, to correct the location where the helicopter was stationed.