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Probe under way in Honduras crash that killed 5 U.S. soldiers

Saturday, December 14, 2002

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- U.S. military authorities on Friday were investigating a helicopter crash that killed five American soldiers in the hills of central Honduras.

Investigators from the U.S. Army Safety Center at Fort Rucker, Ala., traveled to Honduras as the bodies of the victims were flown back to the United States.

The soldiers were identified by the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Southern Command in Miami, as Spc. Bryan P. Abercrombie, 22, of Utah; Spc. Luke A. DeGroff, 22, of Panama City, Fla.; Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan C. Helman, 30, of McConnellsburg, Pa.; Chief Warrant Officer Maurice A. Lammie, 34, of New Jersey; and Sgt. 1st Class Anthony L. Sieng, 38, of Maryland.

Hometowns were not available for Abercrombie, Lammie or Sieng.

The soldiers were aboard an Army Black Hawk helicopter when it crashed about 9 p.m. Wednesday while on a training mission. It crashed about 40 minutes after taking off into the mountains near Santa Cruz de Yojoa, 85 miles north of Tegucigalpa, authorities said.

The soldiers were assigned to Joint Task Force Bravo, the U.S. military command that conducts training, counter-drug, and humanitarian missions in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Many of its members helped Central America recover after Hurricane Mitch killed thousands and caused billions of dollars in damage in 1998.

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