Six Americans Killed in Helicopter Crash in Tikrit
Coalition military officers on the scene told reporters the helicopter was likely brought down by enemy fire, perhaps a rocket-fired grenade, although official spokespeople said the crash was still under investigation.
The six aboard the Black Hawk all belonged to the 101st Airborne Division, according to the spokeswoman for the 4th Infantry Division based in Tikrit.
“At approximately 9 a.m. (1 a.m. EST) this morning a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter went down,” Major Josslyn Aberle told reporters. “At this stage we don’t know if it was due to mechanical failure or another reason.”
At the scene, three helicopters hovered above the smoking wreckage on the eastern bank of the Tigris River. Humvees and other military vehicles could also be seen patrolling the area. The city of Tikrit, hometown to former dictator Saddam Hussein, has continued to be a hotbed of anti-American resistance.
The Black Hawk downing comes only five days after a surface-to-air missile shot down a Chinook helicopter, killing 16 Americans near Fallujah.
Violence also continued to flare outside the so-called Sunni Triangle that includes Fallujah and Tikrit. In the northern city of Mosul, two soldiers were reported killed in attacks over the last two days.
Late Thursday, a roadside bomb killed one American and a second was reported killed when a convoy was ambushed with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire.
Three other soldiers were injured when another bomb exploded near a main hotel in Mosul on Friday. The attacks in Mosul, an ethnically diverse city, ended what had been a relatively peaceful stretch in the northern part of the country.
The latest spate of attacks brought to 31 the number of American service members killed in the first week of November. That number does not include two civilians working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a Polish officer who died in other attacks since the first of the month.