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* JAVNO.com has a photo of the crash HERE
May 31, 2007
Seven servicemembers assigned to NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan are dead after a Chinook helicopter flying an ISAF mission went down in Helmand province near Kajaki last night.
In accordance with NATO policy, ISAF does not release casualties' nationality prior to the relevant national authority doing so.
The entire crew of five and two military passengers died in the incident. An Afghan civilian was injured by small-arms fire after the crash.
Responding to the scene of the crash, a unit was ambushed by enemy fighters, officials said. Under continued fire, the responding patrol called for an air strike to eliminate the enemy threat.
The injured civilian is being treated at an ISAF medical facility. Military officials are investigating the cause of the crash.
Thursday, May 31, 2007 - 1:50pm CDT
The crash killed all seven people on board. The five U.S. soldiers were assigned to Combined Joint Task Force 82, and were the crewmembers of the helicopter.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
"We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and comrades of the soldiers who were involved in the crash," said Army Col. Kelly Thomas, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade and Task Force Pegasus commander. "Their courage and dedication will never be forgotten, and we will honor them by continuing our commitment to supporting the Afghan people and government while fighting the war on terror."
After the crash, a coalition forces patrol moved to secure the crash site and was engaged by a large number of insurgents. One coalition servicemember and one Afghan civilian were wounded.
Coalition forces medical personnel stabilized the civilian injured by small-arms fire, who was medically evacuated to a nearby treatment facility. The coalition servicemember was only slightly wounded and did not require evacuation.
Coalition forces aircraft were requested to suppress the insurgents and secure the crash site. A large number of insurgents were killed during the five-hour engagement.
Two International Security Assistance Force servicemembers were also killed when the helicopter crashed. The nationalities of these servicemembers will be released by their respective nations at a later date.
The names of the deceased Americans will be released pending notification of next of kin.
A team from the U.S. Army Aviation Center from Fort Rucker, Ala., is en route to Afghanistan to investigate the cause of the crash.
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