War on Terrorism

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Pilot Killed as Coalition Helicopter Crashes in Afghanistan

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, July 2, 2006 – One crewman was killed and another was injured today when a coalition AH-64 Apache attack helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff from Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan, military officials reported. Officials said enemy action has been ruled out as a possible cause for the crash, which occurred at about 8:30 p.m. Afghanistan time, noon Eastern Daylight Time. The injured crewman was taken to the airfield's military hospital. No report was immediately available on his condition.

Aircraft were responding to a reported rocket attack against Kandahar Airfield when the Apache went down, officials said. No injuries were reported from the rocket attack, the second in three days. A rocket attack at the airfield June 30 left 10 people injured. The cause of the crash will be investigated, officials said, but enemy fire has been ruled out as a cause for the aircraft's loss.

"We deeply regret the death of our superb pilot tonight," said Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 76. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and fellow aviators of our dedicated soldier who lost his life tonight executing a mission he believed in. His sacrifice will not be forgotten.

"We are thankful for the rapid response of our joint team who rescued our injured pilot," the general continued. "His rescue was heroic and responsive. We are determined never to leave a fallen comrade, and our well trained force demonstrated that tonight.

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