U.S. Chinook Copter Downed! Death toll now up to 13 soldiers

Washington Post

2 November 2003

BAGHDAD - At least 13 people were killed and 20 wounded when a U.S. Chinook helicopter was shot down near Fallujah, the U.S. military said.

Separately, a U.S. soldier from the 1st Armored Division died after being wounded in an overnight roadside bomb blast in Baghdad.

Witnesses said the Chinook-47 helicopter had come down south of the flashpoint town of Falluja, a stronghold of anti-U.S. resistance 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad. They said several U.S. helicopters were circling over the crash site.

A U.S. military spokesman said the helicopter was one of two Chinooks heading for Baghdad airport carrying troops for a rest and recreation trip. He said 30 people, including five crew members, had been aboard. He gave no details on who had been killed or the seriousness of the other injuries.

"Currently there are 13 killed in action and more than 20 wounded," the Baghdad command said in a statement on the Chinook shootdown. The aircraft had been "shot down by an unknown weapon" and rescue teams were in the area.

It said a search was under way at the site for possible other survivors.

Residents in Falluja said two surface-to-air missiles had been fired and that one had hit its target.

Also in Falluja, residents said a convoy of U.S. soldiers in civilian vehicles had been hit by a roadside bomb.

At least one U.S. vehicle was ablaze at the site, where jubilant Iraqis gathered. Television pictures showed a gleeful Iraqi youth wearing a U.S. Army helmet.

It was the third time guerrillas had brought down a U.S. military helicopter since President Bush declared major combat over in Iraq on May 1.

Before the helicopter attack, 123 U.S. soldiers had died in hostilities in Iraq in the past six months, including the one killed in the blast in Baghdad early Sunday and two killed by a bomb in the northern city of Mosul the day before.