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Two Tennessee National Guardsman dead in Alabama helicopter crash

By Jamiel Lynch and Jack Forrest, CNN

Two Tennessee National Guardsman were killed Wednesday after their helicopter crashed during a training flight in northern Alabama, the national guard confirmed.

The UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter was approaching the Huntsville Executive Airport when it “rapidly descended” and crashed around 3 p.m. near Highway 53 and Burwell Road in Huntsville, Alabama, the Tennessee National Guard said in news releases. Federal and local authorities are investigating the crash and no other service members or civilians were injured in the incident, according to the releases.

The national guard Thursday identified the two people killed in the crash as Chief Warrant Officers Daniel Wadham of Joelton, Tennessee, and Danny Randolph of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Wadham had 15 years of service and Randolph 13 years.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Two Tennessee National Guardsmen, and our prayers are with their families during this heartbreaking tragedy,” Brig. Gen. Warner Ross, the adjutant general, said in a statement. “We ask Tennesseans to join us in supporting their families during this time of unthinkable grief.”

The helicopter was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at the scene, and the first responders found the remains of two people inside, Don Webster with Huntsville Emergency Medical Services, Inc. told CNN.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said in a statement that troopers with its Highway Patrol Division and deputies from the Madison County sheriff’s office responded to the crash site. Brent Patterson, a spokesperson with the Madison County sheriff’s office, confirmed the crash to CNN earlier Wednesday and said that there were no survivors.

Several agencies have helicopters in the area, Webster said, so it took officials some time to determine who owned the helicopter involved. The helicopter had no visible markings because it had been completely burned, further complicating the effort to identify it, he added.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.

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