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The Nr Fairy
8th Apr 2001, 13:58
I've not seen this yet anywhere, and it may get moved to RotorHeads, but here goes.

The US embassy in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi has confirmed that seven American soldiers and nine Vietnamese were killed in a helicopter crash in the centre of the country.

The Russian-made helicopter was carrying a team searching for American soldiers missing in action from the Vietnam War.

Eyewitnesses said the helicopter made unusual swinging movements in the air before it crashed into the side of a mountain in Quang Binh province, about 450km (280 miles) south of Hanoi.

There were no survivors.

US President George W Bush has issued a written statement in which he said he was deeply saddened by the crash.

"The families of the service personnel lost in today's tragic accident know better than most the contribution their loved ones made in bringing closure to scores of families across America," said Mr Bush.

Search for MIAs

Washington funds a multi-million-dollar programme to find those who went missing in action, and at any one time there are many US military personnel working in the Vietnamese provinces as part of the US army's research effort.

Nearly 1,500 American servicemen and women are still listed as missing during the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975.

Vietnamese officials say they do not have any information about the cause of the crash, which is reported to have happened in thick fog.

One Vietnamese official said the helicopter was on a flight to the central city of Hue. It left Vinh at 1515 (0815 GMT) and had been scheduled to stop at Dong Hoi, the Quang Binh provincial capital, before heading south to Hue.

The US Pacific Command identified the helicopter as a Russian-made Mi-17.

"American and Vietnamese officials are taking appropriate actions to recover and identify those aboard, and notify next of kin," the Pacific Command said in a statement.

From BBC News Online (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/asia-pacific/newsid_1266000/1266250.stm)


[This message has been edited by The Nr Fairy (edited 08 April 2001).]