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U.S. Army Helicopter Crashes in the Philippines

BY Admin  February 21, 2002 at 6:30 PM EDT

The Army MH-47 helicopter crashed off the north coast of Basilan Island in the southern Philippines with eight crew members and four passengers, according to the U.S. Pacific Command. No survivors were found within the first few hours after the crash.

The large, twin-rotor aircraft had just dropped off the last of 160 U.S. special forces troops on the tiny southern Philippine island of Basilan. There were no initial reports of hostile fire.

A U.S. Army CH-47 helicopter that had accompanied the crashed aircraft remained in the area to conduct an aerial search, later joined by other U.S. and Philippine military forces.

A total of 600 U.S. special forces and support personnel will be deployed over the next six months in the largest expansion of the U.S. military’s anti-terrorism campaign outside of Afghanistan.

The troops are taking part in joint U.S.-Philippine training exercises aimed at battling the Islamic Abu Sayyaf guerilla rebel group, which has been linked to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network.