A Canadian Chinook helicopter caught fire after making a hard landing in Afghanistan.
A Canadian Forces Chinook helicopter with five crew members and 15 passengers on board caught fire after making what military officials have termed a “hard landing” in dangerous Panjwaii district, west of Kandahar city. It came down hard at 2 p.m. local time near Armarah village, about 20 kilometers southwest of Kandahar city.
Reasons for the abrupt landing and the fire of this CH-47 medium-lift helicopter were not immediately known and an investigation is underway, according to Canadian military spokesman Maj. Daryl Morrell.
Several hours after the incident, a statement released reported eight people had minor injuries. The exact nature of the injuries were not disclosed.
Meanwhile, a Taliban spokesman has told reporters in Kandahar that the insurgent group downed the helicopter and that there are casualties.
In 2007, an American Chinook was downed in nearby Helmand province by what ISAF officials described publicly as a rocket-propelled grenade fired by insurgents. Canadian military photographer Master Cpl. Darrell Jason Priede was killed in the ensuing crash, along with six other coalition soldiers.
Last month the online “anti-secrecy” organization Wikileaks disclosed a U.S. military response document that suggested the weapon used to down the American Chinook was “possibly” a heat seeking surface-to-air missile. The previously undisclosed report was prepared hours after the crash and was based in part on witness accounts.
“Based on description of launch, size of round, and impact force of the projectile, it is assessed to be bigger (than) an RPG and possibly a surface-to-air missile,” the report read.
The Taliban claimed responsibility after a 2007 incident and boasted of having “new weapons” that enabled them to take down the American Chinook. ISAF officials publicly dismissed this, calling the strike a “lucky” RPG hit.
- NATIONAL POST