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iStock(CHICAGO) -- St. Ethelreda School on the South Side of Chicago placed highly at the state championships and came together to celebrate.

A group of three eighth grade girls brought home a big win during an Illinois state chess tournament.

And to celebrate, their classmates made more noise than you would ever expect for competitors in a chess tournament -- at a pep rally.

With families and friends alike, Shakira Luster, 13, Trechelle Williams, 14, and Imani Hill, 14, ruled the halls of St. Ethelreda School, on the South Side of Chicago.

Together, they took the third, fourth and 10th places at November's Illinois State All Grade Chess Championship.

"The pep rally was very empowering because we could see how our fellow classmates are looking up to us, believing in us and celebrating us for winning," Imani said in excitement.

While this deserved win was more than enough reason to celebrate, chess holds a special place in the experiences for the students at St. Ethelreda School.

Eric Luster, the chess coach and a math teacher at St. Ethelreda, as well as Shakira's father, has a longtime love of the game.

"As a casual chess player myself -- and looking at the research on how chess can help improve students' math scores -- I wanted to create a chess team here at the school," Luster told ABC News. "We've been playing chess here for over seven years now, and we have definitely seen an improvement in math scores and an overall growth in academic performance, particularly for the students who participated in the team."

In those past seven years, the chess team has grown to become a source of community and fun for students.

"There is something about being a member of the chess team here. You might not be an athlete, you might not be the smartest kid in the classroom, but you're still on the team," said Dr. Denise Spells, principal of St. Ethelreda School. "You get on the bus to go to your tournaments. You come in your T-shirts ready to play. We, as a school, win a trophy and everybody is happy. It's our own little community."

Although St. Ethelreda School has collected a fair amount of trophies, these state wins have been historic.

"First off, we're talking all girls -- that hasn't happened in the state's history that just a group of all girls went as a team and won the state championship," Luster said. "Second, we're talking about a group of African American girls, and I don't think that's happened in the state's history either."

"We always thought we were the best eighth grade team, but when we actually won, it felt empowering to know that we made history," Trechelle said.

Spells wanted to do something big for the girls to show them how proud the entire school was of them, she said. As Shakira, Trechelle and Imani walked through the hallways of St. Ethelreda School, they were crowned alongside Luster, their coach, to make them feel like kings and queens of the school.

"Because the chessboard is ruled by the king, and the most important piece is the queen, they decided to crown us at the pep rally -- which surprised us because we were not expecting it," Luster said.

Winning at the state championships, in many ways, is really just the beginning for these girls.

"Being on the chess team means a lot to me because it has helped out with my math and test scores a lot," Shakira said. "So the more I play chess, the more I feel like my scores are going up."

And to that, checkmate.

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- NASA scientists have playful helpers for studying the earth's climate: elephant seals wearing hat-like antenna.

The antennae have sensors that take in information about the ocean's temperature and currents as the seals dive. While scientists have been tagging seals for decades to study their behavior, using them to study climate is a newer phenomenon.

Seals spend roughly nine months of the year at sea, swimming thousands of miles and diving upward of 80 times per day, sometimes to depths of 3,300 feet. They surface for air, but can stay underwater for up to two hours at a time. Seals can also swim under the Antarctic sea ice, meaning they can accesses places that technical equipment can't reach, according to NASA.

The tags, which are attached with glue, fall off during molting season if scientists fail to collect one when retrieving the data.

Lia Siegelman, a visiting scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has been using data from a tagged female seal for a paper she published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience.

"Southern elephant seals may look sluggish on land, but in the water they're endurance athletes," Siegelman told ABC News. "With all this diving, a tagged elephant seal collects data from the entire top layer of the Southern Ocean."

The data the seals collect will help scientists to better understand how the oceans store heat, which could be crucial as our climate warms.

"Most current modeling studies indicate that the heat would move from the surface to the ocean interior in these cases, but with the new observational data provided by the seal, we found that that's not the case," Siegelman said in a statement.

"This could be an important implication for our climate and the ocean's role in offsetting the effects of global warming by absorbing most of the heat," she added.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Melania Trump continued a nearly 70-year-long tradition Friday when she made her annual visit to Children’s National Hospital where she met with patients, their families and nursing staff before reading them a children’s book.

She is the latest in a long line of first ladies to visit the Washington, D.C. hospital, starting with Elizabeth "Bess" Truman, the wife of former President Harry Truman, over 60 years ago. Other first ladies who have participated in the tradition are: Jacqueline Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt and more recently, Michelle Obama.

During her visit, Trump stopped in a play room to visit with the young patients and participate in an art project centered on the upcoming Christmas holiday.

She spent extra time crafting with three children in particular: 8-year-old Brooke Hilton, 7-year-old Nathalia Vasseur Hoffman and 8-year-old Dwayne Salmon, to whom she offered words of advice and encouragement.

"Hi sweetheart, how are you feeling?” Trump asked Hilton. She continued to make small talk, asking the children when she walked in if they were ”Feeling strong?”

The first lady then went on to ask if they had written to Santa yet.

“He’s so busy right now,” Trump said of Santa Claus. “You should write him this weekend.”

The children spent time reading quotes to her from Dr. Suess’ "Oh, the places you’ll go!"

After spending some time making paper snowflakes, the first lady and the children made their way to the main stage to join the crowd and commence the book reading.

This year, Trump read "Oliver the Ornament Meets Belle," the sequel to "Oliver the Ornament," which she read last year.

"Oliver the Ornament" is a seven-book series that celebrates the tradition and stories of Christmas ornaments. The story focuses on a little ornament who faces challenges, but is able to overcome all odds to save the day.

Joining Trump on stage were none other than Mr. and Mrs. Claus, as well as the book’s author, Todd Zimmerman.

Since launching "Oliver the Ornament," Zimmerman has donated over 3,000 copies of the book to hospitalized children and will be donating a percentage of profits from all books sold to various children’s charities.

Trump also toured the Surgical Care Unit and the Short Stay Unit to visit with patients, their families and the nursing staff.

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- For the second time this week, a military base in the United States faced an active shooter incident. The latest on Friday in Pensacola, Florida, has left four people, including the shooter, dead.

The Friday shooting marked the fourth shooting incident to occur on a military base in the U.S. in 2019, according to news reports.

On New Year's Day, 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Riley Kuznia was killed by another on-duty Marine at the Washington, D.C., Marine Barracks.

Lance Cpl. Andrew M. Johnson was charged with murder in the shooting, which was originally classified as a death investigation rather than homicide, meaning it may have been an accident. A redacted copy of the charge sheets, obtained by Task & Purpose, said Johnson jokingly pointed his pistol at Kuznia's head and pulled the trigger, showing "wanton disregard for human life." Johnson entered a not guilty plea and his case is still pending.

At the Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on April 5, 2019, a 25-year-old male Navy sailor was killed by base security after shooting a female sailor in the parking lot. The woman was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Navy police reported the scene as an active shooting incident and it was later deemed a "domestic" incident, according to Navy Times.

A 22-year-old active duty sailor killed two people and injured another on Dec. 4, 2019 at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard near Honolulu, Hawaii, according to authorities.

The shooter opened fire on shipyard personnel with his M4 service rifle and then used his M9 service pistol to shoot and kill himself, an official said.

An active shooter was reported at theNaval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, on Dec. 6, 2019. Four people, including the suspected shooter, were killed.

In the U.S. between 2000 and 2018, there were 277 active shooter incidents -- "an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area" -- identified by the FBI. In total, 2,430 people were either killed or injured.

Seven of those active shooter incidents were on military property.

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choicegraphx/iStock(PENSACOLA, Fla.) -- Four people are dead including the suspect after an active shooting incident at Naval Air Station Pensacola, police said.

Four people are dead including the suspect after an active shooting incident at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida, police said.

The shooter was a Saudi national in the U.S. for flight training, two law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation told ABC News. Investigators are trying to determine whether the shooting was terror-related or not, the officials said.

Authorities responded to reports of a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola at 6:51 a.m. on Friday, officials said. ATF and FBI also responded to the scene.

The shooting took place at one of the classroom buildings on the base, officials said. Officers with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office arrived on the scene and fatally shot the suspect after exchanging gunfire.

Three people, including the shooter, were pronounced dead on scene, police said.

Eight people were injured in the shooting and were transported to Baptist Hospital, a hospital spokesperson told ABC News. One of those transferred to the hospital later died from injuries, police said.

Two officers were among those wounded in the shooting. One officer was shot in the leg and is currently in surgery and the other officer was shot in the arm and is undergoing care at the hospital. They are both expected to survive.

"Walking through the crime scene was like being on the set of a movie," Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan told reporters, adding "The threat has been negated, our community is secured at this time."

"Base security and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are currently investigating. The names of the victims will not be released until the next of kin have been notified," the Navy said in a statement.

Officials did not release any details about the shooter.

The ATF and FBI will assist local authorities in the investigation. The U.S. Attorney's Office is also involved.

The base is shut down until further notice and all personnel currently on the base will taken off the facility in an orderly fashion, said Captain Timothy Kinsella, commanding officer at NAS Pensacola.

NAS Pensacola employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel, according to the base's website. The facility includes the Naval Aviation Schools Command, Naval Air Technical Training Center, Marine Aviation Training Support Group 21 and 23, the Blue Angels, and the headquarters for Naval Education Training Command.

This is the second shooting incident on a Navy base in the last week.

A 22-year-old active-duty sailor opened fire on three civilian employees, killing two, before he fatally shot himself at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard near Honolulu on Wednesday, military officials said.

The suspected shooter opened fire on shipyard personnel with his M4 service rifle and then used his M9 service pistol to shoot himself, officials said.

ABC News' Christina Carrega contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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US Coast Guard/Facebook(FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla.) -- A Coast Guard crew saved a very good boy off the coast of Fort Myers Beach on Wednesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach shared a video and photos on Facebook of their K-9 rescue at Bowditch Point.

The night crew rescue team responded to a call at the beginning of their shift about a "dog in distress" and spotted the canine paddling in the water to stay afloat.

"Thanks to the crew’s expertise in intercepting non-compliant vessels (NCV) and recovering a person in the water (PIW), our 'star' of the night was safely recovered and returned to her owner," the Coast Guard said in the Facebook post.

During the video one of the Coast Guard members can be heard telling the wet dog, "You’re the best person I’ve ever rescued."

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wingedwolf/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- House Democrats are demanding an investigation into the death of a migrant teen from the flu while in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody after ProPublica released new video Thursday raising questions about the circumstances of the boy’s final moments.

"I was absolutely horrified and sickened by the video," Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., told ABC News Live.

"I think it was negligent homicide," Bass added.

Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, a 16-year-old from Guatemala, was found traveling alone by U.S. Border Patrol agents in May after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas.

A week later, Vasquez came down with a 103-degree fever and tested positive for the flu, according to an autopsy report obtained by ABC News. The report indicates he was prescribed Tamiflu the day before he died.

The video appears to dispute CBP’s account of how the boy was found in his holding cell. CBP reported to the medical examiner that Vasquez was found during a routine welfare check. But the video, obtained from the Weslaco Police Department by ProPublica, shows his cellmate discovering the 16-year-old's body and notifying a nearby official.

"The investigation into the death of Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez is ongoing," a CBP spokesperson said in a statement Thursday. "While we cannot discuss specific information or details of this investigation, we can tell you that the Department of Homeland Security and this agency are looking into all aspects of this case to ensure all procedures were followed."

In between medical checks Vasquez was seen vomiting while making several trips to the toilet in his cell, according to a review of surveillance video by the medical examiner.

"The inconsistencies between Border Patrol's official account and this video regarding the death of a migrant child is disturbing," the House Homeland Security Committee said in a tweet Thursday. "We need answers from Border Patrol on why their account doesn't match up with this video."

The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it was investigating the case.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, said in a statement, "Not only did CBP hold Carlos longer than the legal limit and apparently fail to care for him while he was sick, the agency seems to have been untruthful with Congress and the public about the circumstances around his tragic death. This is inexcusable."

"The DHS Office of Inspector General should examine all video from Carlos’ time in custody, complete their investigation expeditiously, and release their findings as soon as possible," he added.

Vasquez was one of thousands of youths held at Border Patrol stations at the height of the record influx of migrant kids and families crossing the southern border in May. At the time, CBP said the average number of minors held in custody on any given day was around 20,000. In response to the increasing number of unauthorized migrants, CBP ramped up medical personnel staffing and redirected agents from ports of entry to apprehend and process those crossing illegally.

The number of unauthorized crossings has declined since its peak in May, according to CBP data. After more than 11,000 in May, there were just 2,848 unaccompanied minors who crossed the southwest border in October.

"The men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection are saddened by the tragic loss of this young man and our condolences are with his family," acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders said in May. "CBP is committed to the health, safety and humane treatment of those in our custody."

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West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (CHARLESTON, W.Va.) -- A number of West Virginia corrections employees have been suspended in response to an image of them performing a Nazi salute.

The state's Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced the suspensions in a letter to employees on Wednesday, calling the image "distasteful, hurtful, disturbing, highly insensitive and completely inappropriate."

The controversial image, which was printed on state letterhead, showed about 30 trainees in uniform displaying the Nazi salute under a sign that read "HAIL BYRD!" The Basic Training Class No. 18 was conducted Oct. 21 through Nov. 27.

ABC News obtained a copy of the photo from the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

"I have seen the photo of Basic Training Class Number 18. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms," Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Director Jeff Sandy wrote in the letter. "It betrays the professionalism I have seen time and time again displayed and practiced by our brave correctional employees."

Sandy did not say how many employees were suspended or explain how the photo came to light.

West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation Commissioner Betsy Jividen has ordered that all copies of the image be destroyed, sent to her office or otherwise taken out of circulation "to keep its harm from spreading," according to the letter.

"We have informed faith and community leaders of this incident," Sandy said. "We have asked for their help to address it effectively, including with the recommended changes or additions to our training programs."

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice also condemned the photo "in the strongest possible terms" and called for termination of the officers involved.

"I have directed Secretary Jeff Sandy of the Dept. of Military Affairs and Public Safety to continue actively investigating this incident and I have ordered the termination of all those that are found to be involved in this conduct," Justice said in a statement. "This will not be tolerated on my watch -- within the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation -- or within any agency of state government."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A brand new storm will be moving into Northern California and Southern Oregon later Friday with heavy rain all the way down to the San Francisco Bay area and heavy snow in the mountains.

Storm alerts have been issued from Oregon to California Friday morning.

Heavy rain will move into the northern San Francisco Bay area Friday evening to finish off the rush hour. Flash flooding is possible and there is a threat of mudslides.

Friday night through Saturday night, heavy rain will begin to spread through most of the West Coast from Seattle to San Diego -- but these areas will not see a flooding threat like Northern California.

In the mountains, very heavy snow is expected, especially in the Sierra Nevada range where 4 feet of snow is expected.

By Sunday, the storm system will cross the Rockies bringing a chance of heavy snow from Colorado to Montana, where more than a foot is possible.

By Sunday night and into Monday, this storm system will redevelop in the Plains and join another system coming from Canada to produce several inches of snow in the Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes, just in time for the Monday morning commute.

Further south, rain -- heavy at times -- is expected from Chicago to Atlanta and eventually into Washington, D.C. and New York City by Monday late morning into the afternoon.

Behind this cross-country storm system, the coldest air of the season will invade the northern Plains and the Midwest with wind chills well below zero and actual temperatures falling below zero as well.

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Richard_Lawrence_Photo/iStock(CORAL GABLES, Fla.) -- Two suspects and two civilians died in Florida on Thursday after an attempted robbery led to the theft of a UPS truck and a shootout with police.

The incident began at a jewelry store in Coral Gables, police said.

At least one store employee was injured. That person's status is unknown.

The two suspects, police said, then carjacked a UPS truck, holding the driver hostage during police pursuit.

The driver was among those killed, along with an innocent bystander at the scene of the shootout.

The attempted theft began around 4:15 p.m. local time, FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro told reporters later Thursday night.

As the suspects fled Regent Jewelers, shots were fired, and the two men carjacked the UPS truck before leading authorities on a high-speed pursuit, Piro said.

The two suspects died in a firefight with police. It's unclear how the truck driver and bystander were killed -- whether it was gunfire from the suspects or if they were caught in the crossfire with police.

UPS released a statement, saying, "We are deeply saddened to learn a UPS service provider was a victim of this senseless act of violence. We extend our condolences to the family and friends of our employee and the other innocent victims involved in this incident. We appreciate law enforcement’s service and will cooperate with the authorities as they continue the investigation."

The FBI is leading the investigation.

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Ansonia Police Department(ANSONIA, Conn.) -- A body found inside the home of a missing 1-year-old Connecticut girl has been identified as the child's mother, police said Thursday.

Christine Halloway, 43, was found dead on Monday night in an Ansonia home where she and her daughter Vanessa Morales lived, according to Ansonia Police Lt. Patrick Lynch.

However, the baby was nowhere to be found.

Lynch said the priority of the investigation is bringing Vanessa home safely.

"We just want to know where she is and she is safe and well," he said in a press conference.

He said authorities are following several leads into both the homicide and missing child.

Vanessa's aunt, Anna, begged for her niece's safe return in the same press conference.

"Help bring Vanessa home safely," she said through tears.

She asked anyone with information on Vanessa's whereabouts to contact Ansonia police or the FBI.

Police are searching through a donation center in Hamden, located about 13 miles west of Ansonia, according to Lynch.

Evidence is being recovered, he said, but he would not go into details.

Lynch said Vanessa's father is cooperating.

He made a point to note that police are not looking to arrest anyone.

"Whatever circumstances that they have Vanessa, just bring her back," Lynch said.

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The Office of McHenry County State's Attorney (CHICAGO) -- An Illinois mother has pleaded guilty to murder for her role in the beating death of her 5-year-old son, prosecutors said Thursday.

Joanne Cunningham and Andrew "Drew" Freund Sr. were both charged with murder for the death of their son, Andrew "AJ" Freund, whose body was found in a shallow grave in April.

Cunningham pleaded guilty on Thursday and faces between 20 and 60 years in prison, according to a statement from the office of McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally. She will not be eligible for parole and must serve all of her sentence, prosecutors said.

AJ's father still faces charges including first-degree murder, aggravated battery and concealing the death of a person.

After Freund was arrested, he told authorities that when AJ "lied about soiled underwear," the 5-year-old "was subjected to a cold shower," according to court documents.

After being in the shower for about 20 minutes, Freund said he "put AJ to bed 'cold, wet, and naked,'" the affidavit said.

Freund said Cunningham checked on her son at their Crystal Lake home and "that was when she got Drew and she used Drew's phone to search for child CPR," the document said.

"Drew advised at some point that he believed that AJ had died," according to the affidavit. "Drew said the next day he took AJ's body to the basement and stored him in a tote."

Freund said on the night of April 17, he put his son's body in several trash bags and put the body in the trunk of his car, according to the documents. Freund said he drove to Woodstock, Illinois, where he buried AJ in a shallow grave, according to the documents.

AJ was reported missing by his mother the following day and his body was found six days later, on April 24. The little boy died from head trauma due to multiple blunt force injuries, according to the McHenry County coroner's office.

Cunningham's sentencing is set for Jan. 30, 2020.

In July, Freund was found mentally competent and deemed fit to stand trial, reported ABC Chicago station WLS-TV.

It is "too early to say" if Cunningham will testify against Freund at his trial, Kenneally told reporters on Thursday.

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KTRK-TV(HOUSTON) -- It used to be that police departments needed to have a helicopter to identify and locate fleeing suspects from the air.

But not anymore. The advent of drone technology is putting that capability into the hands of even small law enforcement agencies.

"It took a helicopter to chase bad guys in the past, and it was very expensive to do that -- something that an agency our size could never possibly afford," Lt. Russell Brown of the Bellaire Police Department in Texas told Houston ABC station KTRK-TV.

Now, Bellaire police have three drones at their disposal, and officers say they're helping save lives. When police in the nearby town of West University were trying to locate a fleeing burglary suspect, the call went out to Officer Aarob Lysack, one of four licensed drone pilots with the Bellaire Police.

Lysack, who was patrolling in his police cruiser, put his drone in the air and sent it in search of the suspect.

"That drone was able to locate the suspect before the officers could, and basically lead officers to the suspect," Brown told KTRK.

The drone located the suspect running through a backyard, and it recorded him as he tried to get rid of a backpack.

When officers recovered it, authorities say the backpack was filled with the stolen items -- as well as a gun.

"The drone was able to see that, document that on film, and have that video ready for court if needed," Brown said.

For Lysack, drone technology represents a giant leap forward for law enforcement.

"It goes about 50 miles an hour. It's got a range of about three miles, as long as we can see it visually. It can go up to 400 feet high," said Lysack. "The thermal camera on it can see a human walking down the street or even a warm vehicle that was recently parked. The zoom goes up to 30 times optical and 180 times digital."

"I think this is a big game changer," he said.

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VanderWolf-Images/iStock(ST. CLOUD, Minn.) -- Three soldiers aboard a Minnesota Army National Guard helicopter were killed after the UH-60 Black Hawk crashed during a flight from an Army aviation facility in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on Thursday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said.

The UH-60 Black Hawk lost communication with the tower about 2:05 p.m. on Thursday while it was conducting a maintenance test flight, according to the Minnesota National Guard.

Officials said the names of the soldiers would be released once their families were notified.

According to emergency radio calls, the helicopter called in a "mayday" about nine minutes after takeoff. Imagery from later in the afternoon showed what appeared to be wreckage from the Black Hawk just inside a tree line following an intense search effort.

"The Minnesota Army National Guard is currently trying to work with local authorities in St. Cloud based on its flight pattern," Army Col. Joe Sharkey, director of communications for the Minnesota National Guard, told ABC News after the helicopter was reported missing.

Information about the helicopter's flight destination was not immediately available, Sharkey said.

"The Minnesota Army National Guard is currently trying to work with local authorities in St. Cloud based on its flight pattern," Sharkey told ABC News.

In September, one soldier was killed and three others were injured during an Army helicopter accident at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk training area in Louisiana.

A spokesperson for Fort Polk told ABC News at the time that the helicopter was a UH-60 Black Hawk medevac unit comprised of four soldiers that crashed while en route to pick up another soldier needing treatment for heat-related symptoms.

It was unclear what caused that crash, but the spokesperson said that the weather was clear and the helicopter did not strike power lines.

Then in November, two Apache pilots were killed during a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan. Initial indications were that the helicopter was not brought down by enemy fire.

This is a breaking story. Please check back for updates.

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WABC(NEW YORK) -- An Amtrak maintenance man was working on an electrical line in New York City when he was electrocuted and killed Thursday morning, according to the New York Police Department.

The line was supposed to be powered off by a transformer, but it wasn't, authorities said.

The deadly incident occurred in the Bronx around 11 a.m. The man was found dead at the scene.

 Two employees suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to Amtrak.

"We are deeply saddened to report the death of an Amtrak employee," Amtrak officials said in a statement. "Trains are being delayed through the area as local authorities respond. A full investigation is underway."

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