US Officials Says 12 Were Onboard Downed Helo
REPORTING 01.22.07 0930 EST: Pentagon officials are
revising earlier statements about what may have brought down an
Army Black Hawk helicopter Saturday northeast of Baghdad.
According to CNN, the military is now "leaning"
toward the conclusion the chopper was downed by a shoulder-fired
Called Man Portable Air Defense Systems -- or MANPADS
-- these weapons are easy to deploy, stone-simple to
operate with little training and very difficult to defend
against for aircraft operating low to the ground. Worse, their
small size makes them easy to transport covertly -- a fact that's
led to their proliferation on the world's weapons markets.
A report on Globalsecurity.org suggests the Afghan mujahedeen
used 340 such missiles to shoot down 269 Soviet aircraft
during the conflict between the two countries.
Additionally, it says there is strong evidence to
suggest IR missiles produced 56% of the kills and 79% of the
Allied aircraft damaged during Operation Desert Storm.
ANN will report more details on this developing story as they
01.21.07 1150 EST: The US military confirmed
Sunday that 12 soldiers were aboard the Black Hawk helicopter that
went down northeast of Baghdad on Saturday, not 13 as had been
"Twelve American soldiers, which included eight passengers and
four crew members, were aboard the aircraft and all were
killed," the military posted in an updated statement
Officials also confirmed the helicopter came down near the
Diyala province -- a region that has seen intense fighting between
US and Iraqi joint forces, and Sunni Muslim insurgents and Shia
US spokesman Lt. Col. Josslyn Aberle said the cause of the crash
had not been determined.
Navy Capt. Frank Pascual, a member of a US media relations team
in the United Arab Emirates, told Al-Arabiya television that the
helicopter might have had technical troubles before going down,
according to the Associated Press.
The New York Times reports an Interior Ministry official and the
police in Diyala province said Saturday the helicopter was shot
down by insurgents who fired missiles, or possibly grenades, from
at least two locations -- though there has been no
confirmation from American officials.
01.20.07 1755 EST: Aero-News has received
reports stating the helicopter that crashed earlier today near
Baghdad, killing the 13 servicemembers onboard, was a UH-60 Black
Hawk helicopter (type shown below).
US Military spokesman Capt. Frank Pascual added officials
believe an unspecified technical issue brought the helicopter down,
although that report has not been confirmed by CENTCOM.
Several media outlets noted in their reports earlier comments by
US officials on the accident did not include any statements denying
it was shot down... as is usually the case. Additionally, the BBC
reports a website linked to the former ruling Baath party in Iraq
claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, although
that has not been confirmed.
The helicopter came down near the Diyala province, where US and
Iraqi forces have battled both Sunni Muslim insurgents and Shia
Muslim militias for months.
Concrete information on this incident remains difficult to come
01.20.07 1310 EST: A US military helicopter,
type unknown, crashed northeast of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad
Saturday, with reports from the scene stating the 13 people onboard
Little is known of the circumstances surrounding the downing at
this time, including the question whether enemy fire may have been
involved. A statement from CENTCOM to ANN said Emergency Coalition
Forces responded and secured the crash site shortly after the helo
The crash comes over a month after a Marine CH-46 crashed during an emergency water landing in
western Anbar province, killing four servicemembers
ANN will continue to follow this developing story.