Helicopter crash kills sixteen at NATO base in Afghanistan

Monday, July 20, 2009

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A military aircraft similar to the civilian one that crashed today

A civilian helicopter chartered by NATO has crashed while taking off from Kandahar International Airport in Afghanistan, killing sixteen. The Mil Mi-8 did not come under enemy fire.

The helicopter had been chartered from the Russian company Vertical-T and all the victims were civilians. A NATO statement said that there was no obvious cause for the accident but hostile fire had been ruled out. Emergency responders are on the scene.

Five other people were wounded in the accident. The airport serves as NATO's operating base for southern Afghanistan.

The crash comes just days after another civilian helicopter chartered for military activities crashed near Sangin Airbase in Helmand. The Mil Mi-26 is believed to have been shot down; six Ukrainian civilians onboard and one Afghan girl on the ground were killed in the crash on Tuesday. The helicopter had been taking supplies to a British military base.

Roads in Afghanistan are often difficult to traverse, so militaries often contract aircraft, especially from Russia, to transport troops and cargo between bases.