Six Marines were killed in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan, officials said on 20 Jan 12, indicating the incident was not believed to be the result of enemy fire.
The helicopter, a CH-53 Sea Stallion, went down in the volatile Helmand province, according to one US official who said: “Initial indications are that this was not hostile fire.” The dead were members of the US military, another US official told AFP. In a brief statement, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said the cause of the crash was under investigation. “However, initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash,” it said. The helicopter came down in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province on Thursday “due to technical failure”, the provincial Afghan army corps commander Sayed Mulook said.
Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban militia, which is leading a 10-year insurgency in Afghanistan, claimed the insurgents had shot down the helicopter. Mulook rejected the claim. The Sea Stallion is a heavy transport aircraft capable of carrying about 40 people. The US officials did not say whether anyone else was on board, other than the six victims. An ISAF spokesman said in Kabul that the crash occurred late Thursday.
He stressed that “there was no enemy around”, but could not give further information such as the terrain at the crash site or the weather.
Killed in the crash were CPT Nathan R. McHone, CPT Daniel B. Bartle, MSG Travis Riddick, CPL Kevin Reinhard, CPL Jessie W. Stities and CPL Joseph Logan all from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The lost Marines were the 1,881st, 1,882nd, 1,883rd, 1,884th, 1,885th and 1,886th Americans to die in Afghanistan … Ich hatt’ einen Kameraden