Australian Chinook downed in Afghanistan

An Australian army aviator died and five others were injured when a twin-rotor Chinook crashed during a resupply mission after departing southern Kandahar Air Base on Monday, Defence chief Angus Houston said.

In a black day for the Australian Defence Force in Afghanistan, the helicopter crash occurred just hours after an Australian soldier was shot and killed by a “rogue soldier” from the Afghan National Army.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said he did not know what caused the Chinook to crash but enemy action could not be ruled out. Speculations suggest that an insurgent ground fire may have been a factor in a fatal helicopter crash over southern Afghanistan.

“We’re very eager to know whether any enemy action was involved or whether there was some other problem with the Chinook helicopter,” he said.

A US Chinook, which accompanying the Australian helicopter, landed immediately to provide medivac assistance. The Australian officer received treatment but died at the crash site. The five crash survivors all Australian are now recovering in a coalition military hospital in Kandahar.



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