Iraq: Marines killed in helicopter crash

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A U.S. Marine transport helicopter has crashed in western Iraq, killing 31. Although there was bad weather reported in the area, CBC quotes an anonymous official as stating, "I have not heard anybody attribute a cause."

The helicopter went down at 1:20 a.m. local time near Rutbah, about 355 km west of Baghdad, while conducting security operations. The aircraft was transporting personnel from 1st Marine Division. Rescue and investigative teams are on the scene.

The event may be the largest loss of life since the invasion in 2003. On March 23, 2003, during the initial invasion, 26 soldiers lost their lives in various incidents. Since Pres. Bush declared major operations over on May 1, 2003 there have been several events with large loss of life, including the collision of two Black Hawk helicopters while avoiding ground fire, killing 17, and a Chinook which was shot down near Fallujah.

The U.S. military reports, for Wednesday January 25th, four U.S. Marines from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit were killed in action in al Anbar. An Army soldier with the 1st Infantry Division was killed when a combat patrol was attacked near Duluiyah. A series of car bombs and attacks resulted in at least six deaths in Iraq and more wounded, including at least seven U.S. military personnel.