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3 dead after National Guard helicopter crashes in Texas

The helicopter went down near La Grulla, Texas, a small town close to the state's border with Mexico.

A member of the National Guard in Texas
Eric Gay / AP
SMS

A National Guard helicopter crashed near the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas on Friday, killing two soldiers and a Border Patrol agent, the military said. Another soldier on board was injured.

The UH-72 Lakota helicopter was assigned to the federal government's border security mission when it went down near Rio Grande City, according to a statement released by Joint Task Force North. The cause is under investigation.

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera, the county’s top official, said those on board included one woman and three men. He said the person who was injured was in critical condition.

The names of those killed were not immediately released.

The crash happened mid-afternoon Friday while the helicopter was conducting aviation operations, according to the statement. No other details were provided and the identities of the occupants have not been released. 

State and federal law enforcement agencies are reportedly investigating the incident. Starr County Sheriff's Deputies said they were assisting in response to the crash.

Army National Guard halts helicopter flights after 2 crashes, 1 fatal
Army National Guard halts helicopter flights after 2 crashes, 1 fatal

Army National Guard halts helicopter flights after 2 crashes, 1 fatal

The news comes after two AH-64 Apache helicopter crashes in just two weeks, one of which was fatal.

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Other National Guard helicopters have gone down in fatal crashes earlier this year.

In late February the Army National Guard announced it had ordered a "safety stand down" of helicopter flights throughout the agency after two crash incidents earlier in the month, one of which killed two National Guard pilots.

Scripps News has reached out to the National Guard and to the Texas Military Department for comment.