It has been reported that three people died after a U.S. military helicopter crashed into a field in Mendon, New York.
The crash ignited a large grass fire and emergency services rushed to the scene, it is confirmed.
For some time after the crash, the chopper was still ablaze and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) reported that there were “three souls on board.”
Eyewitnesses say there are military forces and equipment on the scene, too.
The incident took place near Cheese Factory Road in the city of Rochester, shortly before 7pm local time, in a field on Bloomfield Road (12am GMT).
A grid search was carried out by several fire departments, state police and MCSO officers, and a helicopter was dispatched to try to determine whether there were any footprints of survivors.
During a routine training mission, the aircraft, a New York Army National Guard UH-60 medical evacuation helicopter, collapsed.
The chopper, based at Rochester International Airport’s Army Aviation Support Facility, had three soldiers on board who had died in the collision.
The aircraft was assigned to the 1st Battalion, according to the Military and Naval Affairs division of New York State.
Congressman Chris Jacobs tweeted: “I am absolutely devastated by the news of the National Guard helicopter crash in Mendon this evening that led to the loss of three lives. My prayers are with the family members of these service members lost.”
According to local reporters, the road and area had been completely sealed off.
With dense black smoke billowing into the air, huge flames were seen.
To respond to the critical incident, several emergency services were deployed to the scene.
According to News 8, witnesses state the chopper was seen low on the ground and the call came in just after 6.30pm (11.30pm GMT).
MCSO said earlier: “A military helicopter with what is believed to be 3 souls on board went down in a field on W Bloomfield Road in Mendon at 6.32pm.”
The incident is under review, Military and Naval Affairs said.