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12 killed in US helicopter crash in Iraq

A US military spokesman said the cause of helicopter crash -- the deadliest for almost a year -- was under investigation.

world Updated: Jan 08, 2006 22:22 IST

A US military helicopter crashed in a remote part of Iraq on Saturday night, killing all 12 people on board, while five US marines died in separate attacks in the west of the country, officials said.

A US military spokesman said the cause of helicopter crash -- the deadliest for almost a year -- was under investigation.

He noted, however, that there had been severe weather at the time the Black Hawk went down near the restive city of Tal Afar in northwestern Iraq.

The identities of the four crew members and eight passengers have yet to be released.

"A coalition helicopter crashed in a sparsely populated area 12 kilometres (seven miles) east of Tal Afar shortly before midnight (2100 GMT), killing passengers and crew," a military statement said.

The Black Hawk was part of a two-aircraft mission flying between bases in northern Iraq when communications were lost with the aircraft.

"An immediate search and rescue operation was launched from nearby military installations," the statement said.

The helicopter was found at about noon (0900 GMT) on Sunday.

First Published: Jan 08, 2006 22:22 IST