WASHINGTON – A U.S. Marine helicopter crashed in Kuwait Thursday, killing all 16 American and British soldiers aboard, military officials said.
The crash of the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter killed 12 U.S. and four British soldiers, officials said. The helicopter was assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
The helicopter crashed at 7:37 p.m. EST in Kuwait, about 9 miles away from the border with Iraq (news – web sites), military officials said. The cause of the crash is under investigation, the officials said, adding that hostile fire had not been reported in the area.
The Marines use the Sea Knight, a bus-like helicopter with two large rotors, to fly troops from ships at sea or base camps to forward positions.
The Navy and Marines grounded all 291 Sea Knight helicopters in August after an inspection of one helicopter in North Carolina found a crack in a rotor assembly. A Marine Corps CH-46 crashed in 2001, killing three Marines and injuring two.