Moody chopper crashes in Afghanistan - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Moody chopper crashes in Afghanistan

^ Crashed chopper was similar to this one. ^ Crashed chopper was similar to this one.

March 24, 2003

(Bagram, Afghanistan-AP) -- Military officials have confirmed that a US Air Force helicopter from the 41st Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base crashed in southeastern Afghanistan. All six people on board were killed yesterday. Officials said the HH-60-G Pave Hawk helicopter was on a nighttime medical mercy mission to help two injured Afghan children when it crashed shortly before 9:00 pm about 18 miles north of Ghazni, Afghanistan.

The children had suffered head injuries. Master Sergeant Richard Breach -- a spokesman at Bagram Air Base, the main US military base in Afghanistan -- said , "I regret to tell you that all six aboard were confirmed dead." Breach says enemy fire did not bring down the helicopter but the cause was under investigation. Coalition forces were en route to the crash site.

The weather across Afghanistan was poor at the time and several other flights were grounded. Officials said the remains of the six people on board -- all Air Force members -- have been recovered and are to be flown to Bagram Air Base and prepared for transfer back to the United States.

Moody Air Force Base officials said the names of those killed are being withheld until their next of kin can be notified.

US military officials in Washington and Afghanistan said the medical evacuation was not connected with Operation Valiant Strike, a mission aimed at rooting out remnants of al-Qaida and Taliban believed to be operating in the area.

Brigadier General John Folkerts -- commander of the 347th Rescue Wing at Moody -- said in a statement ,"The Air Force is a close-knit family and the loss of one of own affects us all." He also said "We wish to express our deepest condolences to the family members of these brave airmen and want them to know that we will not forget the valuable contributions they made to this country and the impact they made on the Air Force."

The last helicopter crash in Afghanistan was on January 30th, when an Army Black Hawk helicopter -- the Army's version of the Pave Hawk -- crashed on a training mission near the Bagram air base, killing four people.

Ten days ago, gunmen fired on a US special forces convoy on the road between the town of Gardez, about 40 miles to the east of the crash, and Khost.

The attack led to a firefight involving coalition F-16 and A-10 aircraft and a half-dozen of Apache helicopters. Five of the assailants were killed, and there were no coalition casualties.

posted at 8:04AM by dave.miller@walb.com

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