U.S. copter down in Iraq; 13 aboard dead
© 2007 The Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq — A U.S. helicopter crashed Saturday northeast of Baghdad, killing all 13 people on board, the military said.
The brief statement from the military lacked the customary comment that the aircraft was not shot down, indicating it may have been downed by insurgent fighters. The helicopter was carrying 13 passengers and crew members and all were killed, it said. No further details were released, including the exact location of the crash.
The violent Diyala province sits northeast of Baghdad, and U.S. and Iraqi forces have been battling Sunni insurgents and Shiite militia forces around its main city of Baqouba for months.
The deaths highlighted a major danger for U.S. forces in Iraq, where the military relies heavily on air travel to avoid the dangers of roadside bombs.
The worst U.S. aircraft accident since the war began was on Jan. 26, 2005, when a Marine transport helicopter crashed during sandstorms in Iraq's western desert, killing 30 Marines and a U.S. sailor.
Three U.S. aircraft also went down in a span of two weeks late last year, including an Air Force fighter jet that crashed in a field in Anbar province on Nov. 27, killing the pilot.
A Sea Knight helicopter carrying 16 U.S. troops also went down in a lake in Anbar on Dec. 3, killing four.