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US helicopter down in Iraq, 1 dead 3 missing

Written by: Staff

HADITHA, Iraq, Dec 4 (Reuters) One Marine was killed and three servicemen were missing after a U S helicopter with 16 people on board made an emergency landing on water in western Iraq yesterday, the U S military said today.

It said the Ch-46 twin-rotor Sea Knight, the Marine version of the Chinook, was carrying 16 personnel including the crew when it came down in the volatile Anbar province, heartland of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.

Residents of Haditha, 250 km (150) northwest of Baghdad, said it came down in a lake, which had been sealed off by U S forces.

''Thirteen passengers were accounted for yesterday. During search and rescue operations, one Marine was recovered from the water, but attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful,'' the military said in a statement.

It said three servicemen were still missing.

''The incident does not appear to be a result of enemy action and is currently under investigation,'' it said.

A week ago, a U S F16 fighter on a combat mission crashed near Baghdad. The pilot's body has not been found and the U S military has listed him as dead.

While helicopter crashes in Iraq are not uncommon, it is rare for a fixed-wing aircraft to come down.

The worst crash of a U S military helicopter occurred near the Jordanian border in January 2005, when 31 military personnel were killed.

Reuters SSC DB1818

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