The whole crew of military personnel aboard a U.S. Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter was killed Thursday, March 15, in a crash in Western Iraq, near the Syrian border.
All seven people on board the aircraft were killed in the incident.
According to an updated statement on Friday, March 16, by the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, the crash “does not appear to be a result of enemy activity.”
.@CJTFOIR mourns the loss of @coalition personnel in yesterday's helicopter crash in western Iraq. Our thoughts are with the families, friends, and fellow service members of our fallen troopers. pic.twitter.com/mxkCKGNVEx
— OIR Spokesman (@OIRSpox) March 16, 2018
“All personnel aboard were killed in the crash,” said Brig. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, director of operations, Combined Joint Task Force—Operation Inherent Resolve. “This tragedy reminds us of the risks our men and women face every day in service of our nations.”
“We are thinking of the loved ones of these service members today,” Braga added.
The crash is the first deadly aviation incident for the U.S. military in the war against ISIS since American involvement started in 2014, Fox News reported.
It’s unclear yet what caused the helicopter to crash.
“This incident is under investigation,” the statement said.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that the troops “sacrifice in service to our country will never be forgotten.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the brave troops lost in the helicopter crash on the Iraq-Syria border yesterday. Their sacrifice in service to our country will never be forgotten.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2018
The crash was reported immediately by an accompanying U.S. helicopter and a quick reaction force of Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition members secured the scene.
“We are grateful to the Iraqi Security Forces for their immediate assistance in response to this tragic incident,” Braga said in the statement. “Iraqi Security Forces continue to demonstrate their professionalism, capabilities, and flexibility as we continue the fight toward a lasting defeat of [ISIS].”
The names of the fallen victims will be released by the U.S. Department of Defense after their families have been notified.
The Pave Hawk helicopter in the crash is a modified version of the Black Hawk helicopter, according to Fox News.
Army Col. Ryan Dillon spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve said on Twitter the team “mourns the loss of coalition personnel in yesterday’s helicopter crash in western Iraq. Our thoughts are with the families, friends, and fellow service members of our fallen troopers.”