Marine helicopter reported down in Iraq; no sign of survivors

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

WASHINGTON -- A Marine Corps transport helicopter crashed Monday in central Iraq near Karbala with at least four people aboard, and there were no indications of survivors, Pentagon officials said.

Another servicemember drowned while trying to rescue the crew of the downed helicopter, a Pentagon official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Marine CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crashed into a canal southeast of Karbala, the official said. Lt. Col. David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said there was no indication whether or not it was downed by hostile action. Another official said it appeared to be an accident.

The Sea Knight is a workhorse helicopter used by the Navy and Marine Corps to move cargo or troops. It normally operates with a crew of four and has been in service for more than three decades.

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