Aviation News

January 20, 2012

Helicopter Crash in Afghanistan Kills 6 Marines

A US Marine Corp CH-53D Sea Stallion, similar to the accident aircraft, seen here on the flight line for a flight at Al Asad, Iraq.
A US Marine Corp CH-53D Sea Stallion, similar to the accident aircraft, seen here on the flight line for a flight at Al Asad, Iraq. (Photo by Lance Cpl. James B. Hoke, US Marines)
Six U.S. Marines were killed late Thursday evening when a helicopter belonging to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) crashed in southern Afghanistan, officials said on Friday.

The accident happened around midnight local time when a CH-53 helicopter went down in Helmand province. The Pentagon on Friday morning confirmed that the victims were US Marines.

It was not immediately known what caused the accident or how many people were on board, or if any ISAF service members were injured. “The cause of the crash is under investigation, however initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash,” an ISAF spokesperson said.

Earlier this week, three crew members were killed when a U.S.-owned helicopter crashed in the Nad Ali district of Helmand province. The aircraft was conducting operations for the U.S. Department of Defense, although it was not part of the NATO-led force.

In August 2011, 30 U.S. and 8 Afghan service members were killed when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed in the Tangi Valley of Wardak province. The incident represented the highest number of U.S. forces killed during a single event since the U.S.-led war began in late 2001.

A report released by U.S. Central Command in October 2011 confirmed the crash was caused by an insurgent-fired rocket-propelled grenade which struck the CH-47′s aft rotor-blade as the aircraft approached its landing zone. The investigation found no evidence of a pre-planned ambush.