Four coalition soldiers die in Kandahar helicopter crash

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

File:Australian SF Afghanistan Oct 2009.jpg

The crashed helicopter carried ten Australian commandos, and one soldier from the US (file photo)
Image: Capt Stu Wood, Australian Government Department of Defence.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)
Statements did not identify the type of helicopter. This file photo shows an S-70A-9 Black Hawk that Diggers use for tactical transport.
Image: US Navy.

Less than two weeks after two Australian soldiers (Diggers) died in the explosion of a roadside bomb, three more Diggers and a US soldier were killed early yesterday morning in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan, while seven other soldiers are being treated for injuries.

Australian Defence Force Chief Angus Houston said in a statement this afternoon that two of the crash survivors are in a serious condition and will be moved with the other survivors to the US military hospital in Begram.

The crash occurred at 03:39 yesterday local time (23:09 on Sunday, UTC) in the north of Kandahar province. Although the cause is still unknown, Houston said "the terrain is rugged, the helicopters are often heavily loaded, it’s at high altitude and it was three o’clock in the morning. All of these factors will no doubt be considered". Houston confirmed that enemy fire was not to blame for the crash.

These new casualties in the Afghan War brings Australia's death toll to sixteen, while that of the US comes to 1128 since the war began in 2001.

Despite this, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, remains firm on the issue: "We work beside our allies [...] to avoid Afghanistan once again becoming a breeding ground for terrorists who can then strike at innocent Australians both at home and abroad" and continued by saying that all Australians owe the soldiers a debt of gratitude for making the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

Although the names of the soldiers have yet to be released, the tragedy follows last week's casualties where Australian combat engineers Darren Smith, age 26, and Jacob Moerland, age 21, were killed along side their bomb sniffer dog, Herbie in a roadside blast.


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