All seven service members aboard a military helicopter died in a crash in western Iraq on Thursday, United States officials said on Friday. The crash is under investigation but is not believed to be a result of enemy action.
The aircraft, an HH-60 Pave Hawk, crashed near the city of Qaim, where the American military uses a base as a logistics center and resupply hub. Iraqi security forces responded quickly and secured the area, according to a statement from Brig. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, the director of operations for the American-led coalition battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The Defense Department said it would not release the names of the deceased American service members until their families have been notified.
The helicopter crashed about 18 miles southeast of the center of Qaim, near a phosphate factory and railway station close to the military base that the Americans use, said Ahmed al-Mahilawi, the mayor of Qaim. Residents said it crashed shortly after takeoff, he said in a telephone interview.
President Trump offered his condolences in a Twitter post.
Coalition forces have sealed the area, Mr. Mahilawi said, adding that preliminary indications were that the helicopter suffered from a technical malfunction.
Qaim is in Anbar Province near the Syrian border, an area that continues to pose a serious threat to the American-led command fighting the Islamic State.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: NY Times, Eileen Sullivan