18 Bodies Recovered from Afghanistan Crash Site
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 9, 2005 Recovery crews have removed the bodies of all 18 victims from the wreckage of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter that crashed in Afghanistan April 6, Combined Forces Command Afghanistan officials reported today.
The bodies were taken to Bagram Air Base in the Afghan capital of Kabul, and will be flown to Dover Air Force Base, Del., for positive identification, officials said.
The helicopter had flown out of Bagram on a supply and transport mission to southern Afghanistan. It was returning to Bagram when it crashed in severe weather near Ghazni.
A U.S. Army's Combat Readiness Center investigation team from Fort Rucker, Ala., will investigate the crash.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those involved in the crash," said Navy Lt. Cindy Moore, a CFC-A spokeswoman. "They gave their lives to a purpose greater than themselves, and for that reason we were honored to serve with them and call them our comrades."
Fifteen of the crash victims were U.S. military personnel, and three were civilians working for the military as contractors. "We are still fulfilling a combat mission in Afghanistan, and we mourn the loss of any member of our team," Moore said. "The best way to honor the memory of our fallen comrades is to continue the mission they came to Afghanistan to fulfill."
Moore expressed gratitude to the Afghan people near the crash site. "We are very grateful to the people of Ghazni," she said. "They were quick to notify coalition forces of the helicopter crash. They provided additional security and assisted with the recovery of remains from the crash site."
At a Kabul news conference today, Moore briefed reporters on several recent coalition humanitarian medical evacuation missions conducted for Afghan citizens.
Two children were taken to a hospital in Jalalabad with burns, Moore said. A 3-year-old child was taken to a coalition base near Orgun-e for an infection on his hand, and because of the treatment he received he will continue to have the use of his right hand, Moore said.
Another boy was taken to Kandahar Airfield after a cow kicked him in the head, Moore said, and he was reported to be in stable condition. An 18-month-old boy suffered third-degree burns to both feet when an oil lamp spilled in his home. He was taken first to the coalition base at Asadabad and then to Bagram for treatment. "A quick response saved his feet," Moore said. This week, she added, coalition forces conducted 18 medical evacuations of Afghan citizens. In other news, the Gardez provisional reconstruction team bought more than 9,000 fruit trees and flood relief items for villages in Paktia province. The growth of these trees will depend on the governor's program to get the local children involved in caring for the trees, Moore said.
In Sharona, coalition medical personnel conducted a medical assistance visit, treating hundreds of children for worms. The PRT also continues flood relief operations in Tarin Kowt and Lashkar Gah, Moore said.