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HeliTorque :: View topic - Two UK Pumas down in Iraq - special forces mid-air?
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Two UK Pumas down in Iraq - special forces mid-air?
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Joined: Oct 15, 2004
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Location: Northampton UK


PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:27 pm    Post subject: Two UK Pumas down in Iraq - special forces mid-air? Reply with quote

Report at BBC News:

Two die as UK helicopters crash

Two British helicopters have crashed in an apparent mid-air collision in Iraq, killing two military personnel and seriously injuring another.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said initial reports suggested the crash north of Baghdad was an accident and not caused by an insurgent attack.

Pumas are used for transporting troops and equipment

The Puma helicopters came down in the early hours in a rural area near Taji, site of a large US base.

The BBC understands they were taking part in a special forces mission.

Puma helicopters - mainly used to transport troops and equipment - are normally flown by the RAF.

However a Ministry of Defence spokesman would not confirm which service or regiment the dead personnel belonged to.

Earlier reports had incorrectly identified the crashed helicopters as American.

Investigation under way

In a statement, Mr Browne said: "Now that next of kin have been informed, I can confirm that the two helicopters reported this morning as having crashed north of Baghdad earlier today were, in fact, both UK helicopters.

"Sadly, two personnel have died and one is very seriously injured. All of these were UK personnel.

"Initial reports indicate that the crash was an accident and was not a result of an attack by insurgents.

"An investigation is under way and I will not comment further on the details of the incident at this stage."

Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was a "terrible time" for the families of the two UK service personnel who had died, but insisted British foreign policy was "justified and right".

The two deaths bring the total number of British fatalities since the 2003 invasion of Iraq to 142.

Meanwhile, British troops have been involved in more fighting with a Shia militia group in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

Five gunmen from the Mehdi army militia are thought to have been killed in an exchange of fire.

It follows an incident on Friday night when British forces killed eight members of the militia as they were apparently laying mines in the same area where a British Warrior armoured vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb eleven days ago, killing four troops and their Iraqi interpreter.

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