Mon, Jul 20, 2009
16 Civilian Contractors Lost
A Russian-built Mi-8 helicopter has crashed in Afghanistan,
reportedly killing 16 civilian contractors. It's the second such
incident involving a helicopter in a week, though the downing of an
Mi-26 on Tuesday killing 6 civilians was attributed to possible
enemy fire. That has been ruled out by military officials in
Sunday's incident. Saturday, an F-15 Eagle went down in
Afghanistan, killing it's crew of two.
Mi-8 File Photo
A number of media sources are reporting the aircraft went
down shortly after takeoff from Kandahar Airport. It was reportedly
carrying 17 passengers and three crew. No cause for the crash has
been immediately determined.
The Russian news agency Interfax said the Mi-8 was owned by the
Russian air company Vertikal-T, according to Russia's Federal Air
Transportation Agency, Rosaviatsia.
Contractors rely heavily on helicopters for transportation
around Afghanistan. Ground transportation is considered extremely
dangerous, and workers must cover great distances over very rugged
The LA Times says there are literally tens of thousands of
civilians working in Afghanistan in jobs ranging from construction
and food service to quasi-military roles.
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