12 Feared Dead in Chopper Crash in Philippines
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2002 Twelve U.S. service members are feared dead in the crash of an MH-47 helicopter in the Philippines, Department of Defense officials said.
The Army chopper crashed into the sea while flying from Basilan Island to Mactan Air Base. The crash occurred approximately 120 miles north-northeast of the city of Zamboanga on the island of Mindanao.
There was no sign of hostile fire. The helicopter crashed at 2:30 a.m. Feb. 22 local time, approximately 30 minutes after it took off. The U.S. service members are in the Philippines in support of the U.S. effort to train and advise Philippine forces in their efforts against global terrorism, U.S. Pacific Command officials in Hawaii said.
Another Chinook helicopter that was flying with the chopper immediately searched the area for survivors. Other U.S. aircraft are assisting in the search. Philippine embassy officials said their forces are also searching for survivors.
Identification of the U.S. service members has not been released pending notification of next of kin.