Black Hawk down in Yemen, US soldier missing

WASHINGTON, 26 Aug 2017: 

A US Black Hawk helicopter crashed off the coast of Yemen yesterday during a training mission and a search was under way for one US service member.

US Central Command said in a statement that five other service members aboard the aircraft had been rescued after the crash, which took place about 20 miles (32km) off the southern coast of Yemen at 7pm.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. “When the incident took place, the helicopter was not very high above the water,” CENTCOM spokesman Colonel John Thomas said.

The US has been carrying out air strikes against al Qaeda in Yemen, with at least 80 launched since the end of February.

A small number of ground raids using US Special Operations forces have also taken place, including one in January which resulted in the death of a US Navy Seal.

There have been a number of aviation mishaps involving US military aircraft in the past few months.

The US Coast Guard recently said that it had suspended its search off Hawaii for five Army aviators missing since their Black Hawk helicopter crashed earlier this month.

In April, a Black Hawk US Army helicopter crashed on a Maryland golf course, killing one crewmember and seriously injuring two others.

Last month, a military transport plane crash killing 16 service members including elite special operations forces in northern Mississippi.

Meanwhile, US Navy and Marine Corps divers have recovered and identified a second body in the search for 10 sailors missing after a collision between a guided-missile destroyer and merchant vessel near Singapore earlier this week.

The USS John S. McCain collided with the merchant tanker in waters near Singapore and Malaysia on Monday, which led to an international search-and-rescue operation for the missing sailors. The navy recovered the first body from inside the hull of the warship earlier this week.

“More divers and equipment arrived overnight to continue search and recovery operations for eight missing sailors inside flooded compartments of the ship,” the US Seventh Fleet said in statement on its website.

On Thursday, the US Navy suspended the wider search and rescue operation to focus recovery efforts on the damaged hull of the ship, which is moored at Singapore’s Changi Naval Base.

The Navy has already released the names of all the sailors who were missing.

– Reuters

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