13th June 06:15
TWO CHOPPERS CRASH
Two U.S. Helicopters Crash in Iraqi City, Witnesses Say
Sat November 15, 2003 01:10 PM ET
By Seb Walker
MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Two U.S. helicopters crashed on Saturday in the
northern Iraqi city of Mosul, coming down in a residential area after
apparently colliding, witnesses and local security officials said.
A U.S. military spokesman said initial reports indicated that a UH-60 Black
Hawk helicopter had come down in northern Iraq and that a rapid reaction
force was securing the area and investigating. He gave no further details
and could not confirm whether a second aircraft had also crashed.
Sirens wailed and U.S. soldiers sealed off the area, keeping reporters away
from the scene. There was no immediate word on casualties.
"All I can say is that two helicopters have crashed," a senior Iraqi
security official said near the scene.
Local man Mohammad Badran said the two helicopters collided after an
"I was watching TV when I heard a large explosion," he said. "I looked
outside the window and saw two helicopters. One was flying low and was on
fire. The other was higher up. The first one climbed and hit the higher one.
They crashed in separate areas."
The Black Hawk is the U.S. Army's frontline utility helicopter, designed to
carry 11 combat-ready assault troops, and is also used for medical
Three U.S. helicopters have been shot down in Iraq in the past three weeks
for an overall loss of 22 lives.
In the deadliest single strike on American troops since the start of the war
to oust Saddam Hussein, a U.S. Chinook helicopter was shot down west of
Baghdad on November 2, killing 16 soldiers.
Five days later a U.S. Black Hawk was shot down near Saddam's hometown of
Tikrit, killing all six people aboard.
On October 25, guerrillas brought down a Black Hawk in Tikrit, hitting one
of its engines with an RPG. The helicopter made an emergency landing and all
five crew members escaped before it was engulfed in flames.
Insurgents now mounting some 30 attacks a day have killed 160 U.S. soldiers
in Iraq since President Bush declared major combat over on May 1. U.S.
forces in Baghdad have hit back with "Operation Iron Hammer" for the past
three days, using air strikes to destroy buildings they say were used by
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