About Iraq helicopter crashes, 8 killed - US military
|March 4th, 2008||#1|
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Iraq helicopter crashes, 8 killed - US military info
Iraq helicopter crashes, 8 killed - US military
Wed Mar 5, 2008 12:17am IST
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi military helicopter crashed and all eight people on board were killed, the U.S. military said on Tuesday, the worst crash suffered by Iraq as it rebuilds its air force.
"Recovery operations have been completed and there were no survivors," the U.S. military said in a statement.
One U.S. service member was among those on board the Russian-made Mi-17 aircraft, it said, adding that the cause of the crash in northern Iraq was under investigation.
An Iraqi Defence Ministry statement said the helicopter had gone missing in a dust storm and the weather was the most likely cause of the crash.
It said the wreckage of the aircraft was found on Tuesday near Baiji, 180 km north of Baghdad.
The helicopter was first reported missing on Monday near Sharqat, a desert area on the northern edges of Salahuddin province. Iraqi security officials had originally said two pilots were the only people on board.
An Iraqi military official in Salahuddin said the helicopter's pilots had radioed that they planned to make a forced landing because of the dust storm.
The U.S. military said the last reported contacted with the helicopter was at 2.40 p.m. (1140 GMT) on Monday.
Iraq is slowly rebuilding its air force, once one of the world's largest, after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. Its helicopters are mainly used for reconnaissance missions and to ferry troops.
Another Iraqi military helicopter was reported to have crashed in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad on May 30 last year, killing five people on board.
Five people were also killed when an Iraqi helicopter crashed during a training flight earlier last year.
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