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Civilian helicopter crashes in Afghanistan

A US-led coalition quick reaction team will be reaching the spot to see if there were any survivors, officials said.
None | By Press Trust of India, Kabul
PUBLISHED ON JUL 27, 2006 01:10 PM IST

A civilian helicopter has crashed in eastern Afghanistan, and a US-led coalition quick reaction team was hiking to the scene to see if there were any survivors, officials said.

Yousuf Stanezai, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, said the white chopper crashed in the Jani Khel district in Paktia province on Wednesday.

At least two people were feared dead, he said, but could provide no further details.

The Dutch military later announced that two of its personnel, a lieutenant colonel from the air force and an army sergeant, were on board the helicopter.

"The fate of those on board is not yet known," the defence department said in a statement.

Maj Matt Hackathorn, a US-led coalition spokesman, said they have identified the site where the aircraft - a Russian made civilian Mi8 helicopter - had crashed.

The coalition team with the help of the local guide was trying to reach the site, Hackathorn said.

He could not provide any details about the possible casualties, the cause of the crash or who operated the helicopter.

The Dutch statement said that the search team had been forced to take cover for the night and would continue its hunt at first light on Thursday.

The Netherlands has more than 1,500 troops in Afghanistan, most of them in the restive southern province of Uruzgan.

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