Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Iraq - US Chinook 'shot down'

Pictures on Al Jazeera show the burning wreckage

A Chinook has crashed in Iraq, but as yet there is no official word on casualties or the cause. An insurgent group has claimed to have shot it down according to a CNN report. It is the 6th helicopter to be lost this year. Major-General William Caldwell, the US military spokesman, told reporters: "We have a CH-46 that is down," referring to the twin-rotor Sea Knight, the marine version of the Chinook. A Chinook has two crew members and can carry up to 55 passengers according to an Al Jazeera report, however the BBC correctly say the CH-46 can only carry up 25 personnel. The reports come five days after a US army helicopter crashed in a hail of gunfire north of Baghdad. That was the fourth helicopter lost in Iraq in a little over two weeks. Twenty one soldiers and contractors died in those incidents. Witnesses have told Al Jazeera the helicopter had been shot down in a field in the Sheik Amir area northwest of Baghdad, sending smoke rising from the scene, in a Sunni-dominated area between the Taji air base 20km north of Baghdad and Garma, 30 km to the west of the capital.

7 Feb: CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter goes down north-west of Baghdad
2 Feb: Apache helicopter goes down near US air base at Taji, two lives lost
28 Jan: Apache downed while supporting Iraqi troops near Najaf, two lives lost
23 Jan: OH-6A helicopter used by private US security firm Blackwater crashes in Baghdad after coming under "heavy gunfire"; four civilians killed
20 Jan: Black Hawk goes down near Baghdad, with loss of 12 lives

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