Watch This Black Hawk Clip Street Lights During Emergency Landing In Romanian Capital

The US Army Black Hawk helicopter rehearsing for a military ceremony had to make a harrowing landing on the streets of Bucharest, Romania.

byBrett Tingley|
NATO photo


A Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk from the U.S. Army's 1st Combat Aviation Brigade was forced to make an emergency landing on the streets of Bucharest, Romania this week, creating some incredible footage in the process. Images and video shared to social media show the helicopter coming in low over Charles de Gaulle Square in the Romanian capital. Luckily, nobody was hurt in the incident. 

U.S. Army Europe and Africa public affairs published a release stating that the crew "conducted a precautionary landing" and that "Due to the expertise of the crew, and the Romanian police officers on the ground, the helicopter landed safely." The Army states that a joint Romanian and American investigation into the incident is now underway.

In the images and videos shared online, the Black Hawk can be seen flying along above a busy boulevard before making a rapid descent and landing in the road amid traffic near a roundabout. As it descends, the rotors of the helicopter appear to knock down two streetlights, at least one of which landed on a car. After the landing, images show the crew milling about on cellphones as emergency personnel surround the site. The engine compartment of the Black Hawk was opened after the landing, but it remains unclear why the helicopter was forced to land.

Firefighters inspect the Black Hawk helicopter from above as onlookers try to get a glimpse at the helicopter., AP/Andreea Alexandru

The U.S. Embassy in Bucharest also issued a statement following the landing that said they are “working with our Romanian partners to resolve the situation and we will provide more information as it becomes available," according to Reuters

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“We regret the incident that happened Thursday … with a helicopter of the U.S. Armed Forces that was forced to land in Charles de Gaulle Square in Bucharest,” read a separate statement from the Romanian Ministry of Defense, according to ABC News. “The pilot managed to control the aircraft so that there are no victims, and the material damage is reduced.”

A Romanian serviceman talks on the phone following the emergency landing., AP/Andreea Alexandru

Images shared to Twitter show the slight damage caused by the Black Hawk’s emergency landing, which includes two downed light poles. It does not appear as if the helicopter suffered any serious damage.

In videos shared online following the incident, the helicopter can be seen breaking formation as it quickly loses altitude before landing amid pedestrians and motorists:

In another video posted to social media, it’s easy to see how low the helicopter was as it swooped in above vehicles on the Bucharest streets:

A Romanian gendarme takes pictures of the damage caused by the Black Hawk's emergency landing., AP/Andreea Alexandru

The Black Hawk was reportedly in Bucharest to rehearse for an upcoming military parade that will celebrate the end of the Romania’s military involvement in Afghanistan. Romania sent some 32,000 troops to Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, and withdrew its remaining forces in May 2021. Romania joined NATO in 2004 and has since developed strong military ties within the Alliance, including with the United States, in particular. The country notably hosts an Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense site operated by the U.S. Navy. 

A U.S. Army crew inspects the Black Hawk following the emergency landing., AP/Andreea Alexandru

Following this incident with the downed Black Hawk, Romania's defense ministry has reportedly canceled all aircraft participation in the upcoming ceremonies.

The Army's official press release has also offered more details about the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade's current deployment to Europe:

The unit is forward deployed from Illesheim, Germany, as part of the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade rotation and operating in support of Atlantic Resolve. Atlantic Resolve rotational units conduct bilateral, joint and multinational training events in Slovakia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. The training focuses on strengthening bonds between allies and partners, increasing interoperability and building readiness.

The UH-60 Black Hawk, and its many variants, are one of the mainstays of U.S. Army air missions. The helicopter first entered service in 1979 and has been used in a wide variety of roles including tactical transport, medical evacuation, electronic warfare, special operations support, and even mine laying. Black Hawks are now used by the militaries of 28 countries worldwide.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.

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