13 U.S. soldiers killed in helicopter crash

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Blackhawk helicopter similar to the one that crashed.

The United States military has confirmed that all 13 U.S. soldiers aboard a U.S. Blackhawk military helicopter were killed when it crashed near Baghdad, Iraq.

"A U.S. forces helicopter went down northeast of Baghdad ... Emergency Coalition Forces responded and secured the scene. Thirteen passengers and crew members were aboard the aircraft and all were killed," said a statement issued by the U.S. military.

The cause of the crash is not known and an investigation has been launched, but witnesses near the crash have stated that the helicopter was hit with a "rocket" or another form of a "projectile" and was in flames while flying in the air, before it crashed. CNN reported January 22 that anonymous members of the American defence have confirmed that the helicopter was shot down.

"I'm not sure if it was a rocket or other projectiles. After the helicopter was fired upon it was obvious that it was losing control. Then it crashed with an explosion and the smoke started," said a farmer who witnessed the crash. He also stated that he and other witnesses refused to go near the downed helicopter to attempt a rescue of survivors, as they were concerned that if they had done so, soldiers would have shot at them.