While on a routine training flight from Milton-Whiting Field Naval Air Station South Airport, Florida, a US Navy Bell TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopter crashed at approximately 1345hrs local time on August 19 in an open field near a wooded area off Highway 87 at East Milton, just west of Naval Outlying Landing Field Santa Rosa, Florida.
Both occupants, an instructor pilot instructor and student naval aviator, were seriously injured, one being transport by air and the other by ambulance to a local medical facility. The helicopter was extensively damaged.
It was assigned to Training Air Wing 5 (TAW-5) at NAS Whiting Field. Four TAW-5 training squadrons fly the TH-57, comprising HT-8, HT-18 and HT-28, along with the Helicopter Instructor Training Unit (HITU). The type is being replaced by the TH-73A Thrasher, the first of which was delivered to the HITU at Whiting Field on August 6.