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3 Soldiers Die in Copter Crash

May 10, 2003|From Associated Press

TIKRIT, Iraq — Three American soldiers were killed and a fourth was injured when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed Friday during the rescue of an Iraqi child wounded in an explosion, U.S. military officials said.

Two Black Hawks were sent from the Tikrit area to help the child, who sustained serious head injuries when unexploded ordnance went off outside Samarra, U.S. military officials in Tikrit said.

The copters landed near the Tigris River and the child was put into one, which took off without problems, the officials said.

But the other helicopter snagged a wire strung across the river as it took off, flipping over and falling into the water.

One crew member was able to swim to shore and was picked up by the first helicopter, which returned after seeing the accident. The other three could not be saved, an official said.

The child and the surviving crew member were taken to a U.S. military hospital for treatment. There was no immediate word on their conditions.

The names of the helicopter crew were being withheld pending notification of relatives.

Also Friday, a member of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force was killed when the pickup truck he was in collided with a Marine truck in the Kuwaiti desert, the U.S. Central Command said. He was not immediately identified.

The deaths brought the number of U.S. troops killed in the war to 146.

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