A severe storm damaged about nine military helicopters at the US Navy’s Naval Air Station Norfolk last Tuesday (26). Despite the damage, no one was injured.
Images of MH-53 Sea Dragon and MH-60 Seahawk/Knighthawk helicopters are circulating on social media in the courtyard of the naval base. The force of the winds was enough to “knock down” three MH-60s and one MH-53E, the latter being one of the largest and heaviest helicopters in the US fleet.
Some of the damage by the thunderstorm that swept through Naval Station Norfolk.#aviation #Navy https://t.co/mp6HIa4WPY pic.twitter.com/FrDpMBPBe8
— The Shadow of the Eagle (@clemente3000) July 28, 2022
According to information from the local channel WAVY , the damage ranges from broken rotor blades to punctures and dents in the fuselage.
“The Navy continues to assess the full extent of damage to each cell, and there has been no operational impact as a result of this incident ,” said Commander Rob Myers, Atlantic Air Forces. “Known damage to the aircraft ranges from a damaged tail rotor, broken main rotor blades, dents and punctures in the fuselages. No military personnel were injured as a result of the storm.”
No personal were injured but several helicopters were damaged in a severe tstorm this afternoon at NAS Norfolk. Looks like a few H60s.
Some of you may have seen the fire dept lights from the HRBT too. pic.twitter.com/abSlO4B4ss
— Ricky Matthews (@WAVY_RickyM) July 26, 2022
After assessments, the Navy said all helicopters suffered Class A damage. This category refers to accidents that result in at least $2.5 million in damages, one death, or both.
The first severe storm warning was issued at 3:30 pm on Tuesday by the National Weather Service, indicating that winds would exceed 100 km/h. The storm reached Norfolk airfield about 12 minutes after the alert, which remained active until 4:15 pm.
Some of the storm damage yesterday at Norfolk NAS pic.twitter.com/pvcSXbcm0B
— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) July 27, 2022
In case of strong storms, like the one that hit the Navy base, the aircraft must be taken to the hangars or tied to anchor points on the ground. However, the storm arrived in Norfolk at the same time technicians were changing shifts, which prevented the helicopters from being arrested or taken to shelters in time.
“The safety of our personnel remains our top priority and initial reports indicate that there are no injuries, ” a Navy spokesperson told WAVY Channel. The incident is being investigated.