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VIET NOW: 14 U.S. Killed In Copter Crash

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The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 22, 2007; 5:08 AM

BAGHDAD – A helicopter went down in northern Iraq on Wednesday, killing all 14 U.S. soldiers aboard, the military said, the deadliest crash since January 2005.

The military said initial indications showed the aircraft experienced a mechanical problem and was not brought down by hostile fire, but the cause of the crash was still under investigation.

A U.S. military helicopter blasts dust as it lands near the site of a suicide truck bombing in the village of Qahtaniya, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007. More than 400 people died and 400 were wounded last week In a string of coordinated suicide truck bombings, making it the worst terrorist attack since the beginning of the war. The victims of the attack, which the U.S. blamed on al-Qaida, were members of the Yazidis, a small Kurdish sect that has been the target of Muslim extremists who label it blasphemous. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (Petr David Josek – AP)

The UH-60 Black Hawk was part of a pair of helicopters on a nighttime operation when the crash occurred. The four crew members and 10 passengers who perished in the crash were assigned to Task Force Lightning, the military said. It did not release identities pending notification of relatives.

The U.S. military relies heavily on helicopters to avoid the threat of ambushes and roadside bombs _ the deadliest weapon in the militants’ arsenal _ and dozens have crashed in accidents or been shot down.

The deadliest crash occurred on Jan. 26, 2005, when a CH-53 Sea Stallion transport helicopter went down in a sandstorm in western Iraq, killing 31 U.S. troops.

Wednesday’s deaths raised to at least 3,721 members of the U.S. military who have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. [via WASHINGTON POST]

PHOTO CAPTION: A U.S. military helicopter blasts dust as it lands near the site of a suicide truck bombing in the village of Qahtaniya, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007. More than 400 people died and 400 were wounded last week In a string of coordinated suicide truck bombings, making it the worst terrorist attack since the beginning of the war. The victims of the attack, which the U.S. blamed on al-Qaida, were members of the Yazidis, a small Kurdish sect that has been the target of Muslim extremists who label it blasphemous. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
RELATED: Helicopters Shoot Up Insurgent Position, Somewhere In Iraq, February 2007

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