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Sat, May 10, 2003

Black Hawk Down In Iraq

No Sign Of Hostile Fire

Three US Army soldier died Friday, a fourth was injured, when the UH-60 they were aboard crashed near the Iraqi city of Samarra. It was one of two Blackhawks sent to rescue a child who had been wounded while playing with unexploded ordnance he found lying around.

Rescue Mission

The two Blackhawks landed on the banks of the Tigris River. The child, who had suffered major head wounds, was loaded into the first UH-60. Military officials said it launched from the scene without incident.

However, the second Blackhawk, which took off just after the first, apparently snagged a telephone or power line, became inverted and crashed into the Tigris. The first Blackhawk turned right around and landed again, rescuing the sole survivor after the fatally damaged AH-60 sank. Both he and the wounded child were rushed to a field hospital for treatment.

Seven In Six Months

The three soldiers who died when the Blackhawk crashed into the Tigris bring to 146 the number of US troops killed in Iraq since operations began. Friday's incident brings to at least seven the number of Blackhawks that have been damaged or destroyed in the past six months. On April 2, an UH-60 was shot down near Karbala. Six soldiers died in that incident. In March, a Blackhawk crash in a densely wooded area near Fort Drum (NY), killing 11 of the 13 soldiers on board.

FMI: www.centcom.mil

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