Published: Sat, March 17, 2018

No survivors in military helicopter crash

No survivors in military helicopter crash

All personnel aboard a U.S. military helicopter carrying American service members were killed in a crash in western Iraq, the U.S. Central Command said on Friday.

CentCom officials said the crash does not appear to be a result of enemy activity, but remains under investigation. The U.S. -led coalition in the area for operations against Islamic State insurgents have an outpost near Qaim to secure the border regions with U.S-backed Iraq and Syrian Democratic Forces.

"It was a routine troop transport operation going from Iraq to Syria, nothing out of the ordinary", a U.S. defence official told AFP news agency on Friday.

The four crewmembers were all in the Air Force, but it was not immediately known which service the other troops were from, another official said.

The helicopter crashed about 18 miles southeast of the center of al-Qaim, near a phosphate factory and railway station close to the military base that the Americans use, said Ahmed al-Mahilawi, the mayor of al-Qaim.

One of the service members was Carmel native and NY firefighter Christopher "Tripp" Zanetis.

The crash is the deadliest incident involving USA soldiers overseas since May, 2013, when seven servicemen were killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan.

"This tragedy reminds us of the risks our men and women face every day in service of our nations", Braga said in a press release.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the ISIS in Mosul in July. The anti-IS campaign accelerated through much of a year ago, as coalition and Iraq forces battled to take back a string of cities and towns.

On Friday, the Pentagon announced there were no survivors after the HH-60 Pave Hawk went down Thursday near a town along the Syrian border.

The incident Thursday is the first fatal US helicopter crash since the USA launched its anti-ISIS campaign in late 2014.

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