CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar March 22 —
Two British Royal Navy helicopters collided Saturday over the
Persian Gulf, killing all seven on board including a U.S. Navy
officer, military officials said.
Pentagon spokesman Maj. Ben Owens said the U.S. Navy officer was
among the seven on board who died. The rest were British.
The two Sea King helicopters were not struck by enemy fire, said
Group Capt. Al Lockwood, a spokesman for British forces in the
"All those on the helicopters have perished," Lockwood said.
"It's a great tragedy."
The helicopters crashed about 4:30 a.m., just after taking off
from a ship in the gulf, officials said. The cause was under
"We do have very careful plans and procedures to ensure we have
separation of all the aircraft being used," Lockwood said. "Sadly,
last night something was not quite right and we are looking to find
out what that was as quickly as possible."
The accident is the second involving coalition helicopters since
the U.S.-led campaign began.
Eight British Royal Marines and four American Marines died when
their CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crashed before dawn in Kuwait on
Lt. Col. Ben Curry, a British Royal Marines spokesman, said that
crash occurred as troops were being deployed to seize the al-Faw
peninsula in southern Iraq.
Manufactured by AgustaWestland in Britain, the Sea King was
developed for the Royal Navy and has been in service for more than
There are more than 300 in service with both the Royal Air Force
and Royal Navy. They are also used by military in Australia, Egypt,
Germany, India and Pakistan.
|Allied forces vessels continue
the search Saturday March 22, 2003, for the bodies of six
British servicemen and a U.S. officer who were killed when two
British Royal Navy Sea King helicopters collided in mid-air
over international waters in the Gulf. (AP Photo/Jonatah
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