Keith Emil Kirchmeier, Major, USAF (Fallen)
May 25, 1940 – August 04, 1972

UH-1N
Fairchild AFB, WA.
04 August 1972

St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Sun, Aug. 06, 1972, page 12

Helicopter Strikes Power Line; 3 Dead

SPOKANE, Wash., Aug. 5 (UPI) – Three Air Force officers were killed Friday when their helicopter struck a power line and plunged into the Spokane River.

Base officials identified the crew as Maj. John C. Allen, 32 years old, Los Angeles; Maj. Keith E. Kirchmeier, 32, De Smet, S.D., and First Lt. Stephen V. Webb, 25, Prestonsburg, Ky.

The helicopter was part of the Twenty-fourth Detachment, Forty-second Aerospace at Fairchild Air Force Base. It was on a routine training mission when it struck the power line.

UH-1N
Fairchild AFB, WA.
04 August 1972

The Danville Register (Danville, VA)
Sat, Aug. 5, 1972, page 6

Three Men Killed In Helicopter Crash

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – An Air Force helicopter carrying a three-man crew plunged into the water and exploded after striking a power line one mile west of Nine Mile Falls on the Spokane River, the Spokane County sheriff’s office reported Friday.

Sheriff’s Lt. Larry Erickson said there were no survivors.

Mr. and Mrs. Burt Backlund said they were fishing in a boat and saw the helicopter hit a power line directly over their boat.

Air Force officials said the helicopter was on a training mission from Fairchild Air Force Base.

Identification of the crewmen was being withheld. Diving crews from the county Emergency Services Office were dispatched to try to locate the bodies of the crew.

UH-1N
Fairchild AFB, WA.

The Advocate-Messenger (Danville, KY)
Tue, Aug. 8, 1972, page 5

Helicopter Crash Being Investigated

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – Air Force officials said Monday they would launch a weeklong investigation into the helicopter crash that killed three officers near here Friday.
 
Cause of the crash remained unknown, a spokesman at Fairchild Air Force said, pending hearings by a board of inquiry this week.
 
First Lt. Steven V. Webb, 25, Prestonsburg, KY., and two Air Force majors died when their chopper burst into flames after hitting four power lines straddling the Spokane River.
 
Divers recovered the bodies.
 
Details of the crash remained sketchy, as Air Force officials scoured the charred remains of the helicopter. It was not known which officer piloted the chopper when it crashed.

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