Thursday, February 08, 2007

Officials report 2nd private security helicopter forced down last week, no fatalities

An insurgent video posted on the Internet shows the helicopter making a 'hard landing'

BAGHDAD - A helicopter operated by a private security firm came down in Iraq last week, US officials said on Thursday, an incident that marks the sixth downing of a helicopter in three weeks.

Reports of the Jan. 31 incident, in which no one was killed, come a day after seven crew members and passengers aboard a US Marine helicopter were killed when it crashed near Baghdad, possibly after being hit by ground fire.

The US military, concerned that militants have changed tactics or are using more sophisticated weapons, has said it is adjusting its tactics.

One US military official told Reuters he had heard reports that the private security helicopter came down under fire.

“It did not crash, it made a hard landing. They were able to get all crew and equipment out,” the official said.

The New York Times, quoting American officials, reported the helicopter was shot down south of Baghdad after insurgents attacked it with heavy-calibre ground fire.

An American helicopter swooped in to rescue the passengers and crew, it said. It was unclear how many people were on board.

Read the rest at the Khajeel Times