Tuesday, August 14, 2007

U.S. helicopter goes down near air base west of Baghdad, no word on casualties

Above: CH-47 Chinook helicopters land outside of the village of Abd al Hasan to take U.S. and Iraqi Army soldiers back to Forward Operating Base McHenry after the completion of their part in a combat operation in June.

A U.S. transport helicopter went down Tuesday near an air base west of Baghdad, the military said.

The CH-47 Chinook helicopter was conducting a routine post-maintenance test flight when it went down near Taqaddum air base, said 1st Lt. Shawn Mercer, a Marine spokesman.

He said emergency response crews had sealed off the site and the cause was being investigated. The e-mailed statement provided no information about how many people were on the helicopter or their status.

The air base is about 70 kilometers (45 miles) west of Baghdad in restive Anbar province, a Sunni insurgent stronghold that has become calmer in recent months as tribal leaders have joined forces against al-Qaida in Iraq.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune