Middle EastWar

US Pave Hawk helicopter crashes in western Iraq killing all aboard

A U.S. HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in western Iraq on Thursday killing all personnel on board, the U.S.-led Coalition fighting Islamic State said in a press release.

The incident occurred at approximately 6:45 p.m. GMT and is under investigation, the Friday March 16 release said, adding that crash “does not appear to be a result of enemy activity.”

“All personnel aboard were killed in the crash,” said Brigadier General Jonathan P. Braga, director of operations, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

An accompanying U.S. helicopter reported the crash and a quick reaction force comprised of Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition personnel secured the scene, the release added.

The HH-60 is a variant of the Black Hawk helicopter used by U.S. special operations forces and is often flown in search and rescue missions.

“We are grateful to the Iraqi Security Forces for their immediate assistance in response to this tragic incident,” Braga said.

Names of those killed will be released by the U.S. Department of Defense after next of kin have been notified.

On Thursday, a U.S. official and Ahmed al-Mahlawi, the mayor of al Qaim, a town near the border with Syria, told Reuters that the helicopter was carrying seven people.

Al-Mahilawi said the helicopter crashed about 20 miles southeast of the town, near a phosphate factory and railway station, the New York Times reported.

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