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Navy helicopter makes hard landing near Smithfield

Lt. Commander Rob Myers with Naval Air Force Atlantic said the MH-60S went down near Smithfield and three people on board suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

SMITHFIELD, Va. — A Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing in Isle of Wight County on Wednesday morning, officials confirmed.

Lt. Commander Rob Myers with Naval Air Force Atlantic said the aircraft went down near Smithfield.

Virginia State Police (VSP) earlier described the incident as a helicopter crash. Police said they were alerted to the incident just after 11:30 a.m. in the 12300 block of The Oaks Lane.

According to VSP, the aircraft slid into the tree line on a cattle farm because of the momentum of the landing. It hit several trees and there was damage to the cockpit area and both sides of the landing skids.

They also said two pilots weren't hurt, while a passenger in the back was taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

"They put the helicopter down as safely as possible for whatever they were experiencing," Sgt. Sterling Johnson with VSP said. "I told the guys they’re blessed. They’re lucky."

Johnson said the helicopter will most likely be removed at some point on Thursday.

"It didn’t look horrible. I mean having been a fan of military movies all my life, I’ve seen some bad stuff on the news. I mean, it’s not horrible, but it’s a bad day when a helicopter is not where it’s supposed to be."

Details have not been released on what caused the pilots to make the emergency landing, but personnel with the US Navy Investigation and Security took over the investigation from VSP.

“We can confirm that a Navy MH-60S helicopter experienced a hard landing in a field in the vicinity of Smithfield, VA," Lt. Commander Myers said in a statement. "Initial information indicates that first responders are on scene and that three personnel are being assessed for non-life-threatening injuries. The care and well-being of our crew remains our top priority and we will investigate the cause of this incident."

A photograph provided by State Police shows the aircraft is assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 26.

Editor's Note: The below video originally aired April 7, 2021.