A missle reportedly brought down a U.S. Apache attack helicopter in Iraq, leaving the fate of its two-man crew unknown but feared deaqd as the death toll continues to mount in President Bush’s war against Iraq.
“We had a helicopter crash northwest of Taji,” Lieutenant Colonel Cliff Kent, spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division said, referring to a major airbase north of Baghdad. Recovery teams were sent out.
Local people said they saw two helicopters circling before one crashed out of the sky just north of Baghdad.
“I saw a missile hit one of the helicopters and black smoke come from it before it went down,” said one man, who gave his name as Abu Mustafa.
The U.S. statement did not say what had caused the crash.
Insurgents have shot down U.S. and other aircraft in the past with shoulder-fired missiles or small arms.
In some of the worst incidents, two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters collided under fire in Mosul in November 2003, killing 17 soldiers a week after another Black Hawk was shot down killing six. A Black Hawk was shot down near Falluja in January 2003, killing all nine on board.