USA service members killed in Iraq helicopter crash

A US Air Force helicopter with several servicemen on board has crashed in western Iraq, according to multiple US defense officials.

All seven military personnel aboard a U.S. Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter were killed Thursday in a crash in western Iraq.

Two FDNY members - a lieutenant and a fire marshal - are among the seven soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, director of operations, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, in a written statement sent to CBS News.

The crash did not appear to be the result of enemy activity and is under investigation, the Pentagon said.

One of the service members was Carmel native and NY firefighter Christopher "Tripp" Zanetis.


The Pentagon said the aircraft, a derivative of the Black Hawk helicopter, was operating as a medevac.

"We are grateful to the Iraqi Security Forces for their immediate assistance in response to this tragic incident", Braga said. The identities of those killed will be released after next of kin are notified. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, director of operations for the USA -led coalition battling the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

The chopper had not been on a combat mission when the fatal crash occurred near al Qaim - an Iraqi town that also serves as an American outpost along the Syrian border.

The US military says there are more than 5,000 American soldiers in Iraq as part of the fight against the Islamic State group.

Baghdad declared victory over the extremists late past year but IS still has the ability to wage deadly violence in Iraq, including a series of attacks in the country's north that left 25 dead earlier this month.


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