National Guard helicopter crashes near US-Mexico border, claiming three lives

Bill Melugin / X

Three people were killed in a helicopter crash along the US-Mexico border in Texas. The accident occurred on March 8, 2024, at around 14:50 local time. 

According to a Joint Task Force North press release, the helicopter, a UH-72 Lakota, was assigned to the federal Southwest border support mission and crashed while conducting aviation operations near Rio Grande City, Texas. 

Two National Guard soldiers and one US Border Patrol agent were killed, while another soldier was injured.

An Associated Press report quoted Starr County Judge Eloy Vera to have said that those on board included one woman and three men. Vera said that the injured soldier was in critical condition.

The Department of Homeland Security identified those who died as National Guard Chief Warrant Officers Casey Frankoski, 28, and John Grassia, 30, as well as Border Patrol agent Chris Luna, 49. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Cartel laughing 

Meanwhile, a video clip that allegedly shows Mexican cartel members laughing at the helicopter crash is being circulated on social media platforms. 

In the video clip, the cartel had been watching the crash via a drone camera. Victorious laughter can be heard when the group witnessed the devastating crash via the drone’s remote screen.

According to the US Customs and Border Patrol, the La Grulla region, where the crash occurred, sees frequent cartel activity and is often involved in drug and human smuggling.

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