US chopper crashes in Iraq

Four US Marine Corps crewmen were killed on Monday when their CH-46 "Sea Knight" helicopter crashed into a waterway near Karbala in Iraq, US defence officials said.

    Sea Knights perform vital
    logistical tasks for US forces

    A fifth marine was missing and feared dead after attempting to rescue them, according to Lieutenant Joshua Rushing at US Central Command in Doha, Qatar.

    “There was no indication of hostile fire, but at this point we believe the crew of four did not survive”, added Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel David Lapan.

    The lieutenant colonel indicated that a fifth marine may also have died as well, though this cannot be confirmed.

    Lapan said the four Marines were the only persons aboard the Marine Corps twin-engine troop transport when it went down and that the fifth possible casualty went in later to attempt a rescue.

    “We just have early reports. There are still a lot of questions,” he added.

    The Pentagon gave no details of the crash, saying only that the helicopter was missing and presumed to have gone down about 68 miles southwest of Baghdad.
     
    The Sea Knight, which first flew in 1962, is also used for search and rescue missions and for carrying cargo.

    The crash follows a bleak period for US occupation forces in the country. Last weekend, three US soldiers were killed and six injured in separate incidents.


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