Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Source: At least 7 killed as CH-46 helicopter crashes between Baghdad and Fallujah

A CH-46 helicopter can carry up to 25

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A Sea Knight helicopter crashed Wednesday northwest of Baghdad, sending flames and black smoke into the sky, the fifth chopper lost in Iraq in just over two weeks. The U.S. military believes all seven people aboard a CH-46 helicopter that crashed in Iraq on Wednesday were killed, and indications are that it was not hit by hostile fire, a senior U.S. defense official said.

However, an Iraqi air force officer said it was downed by an anti-aircraft missile, and the al-Qaida-linked Sunni group claimed responsibility for the attack and said it would later issue a video of the helicopter's downing.

The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still under way, said the helicopter went down between Baghdad and Fallujah and that the crash appeared to have been related to mechanical problems.

The helicopter was operated by Marines, and other Marine aircraft were in visual contact at the time it went down, the U.S. official said. He said he did not know whether a distress signal was communicated by radio.

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