Tags: ASIA | ASIAX | AUP | BNALL | BNCOPY | BNSTAFF | BNTEAMS

Rocket-Propelled Grenade Caused NATO Helicopter Crash That killed 38, Pentagon Says

Wednesday, 12 Oct 2011 11:40 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

A rocket-propelled grenade fired by a Taliban fighter caused the Aug. 6 helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed 30 U.S. special forces and military personnel, seven Afghan commandos, and a civilian interpreter, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.

The U.S. Central Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., concluded that the grenade was the “primary cause” of the crash of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization CH-47 Chinook helicopter in Wardak Province, according to a Defense Department news release.

The grenade hit “the aft rotor blade as the helicopter approached its combat landing zone,” according to the release. “There was no evidence of a pre-planned ambush.”

The incident was the biggest loss of U.S. troops in a single engagement since the start of the war 10 years ago.

The ill-fated mission targeted Qari Tahir, a Taliban leader in the Tangi Valley. He was killed by coalition forces the following month.

The initial assault force on Aug. 6 consisted of a U.S. Army Ranger platoon, an Afghan unit and a female cultural adviser. It was supported by two of the Chinook helicopters, made by Boeing Co., based in Chicago, two AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, an AC-130 aerial gunship and a “team” of surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, according to an unclassified summary of the investigation that was released on the Central Command website.

The mission also included an Immediate Reaction Force built around a troop of Navy SEALs with the two Chinook helicopters, which returned to their base to refuel.

After the SEAL team was called for relief, a “decision was made to load all personnel on one aircraft” because the commander “wanted to mass troops quickly, and to mitigate the increased risk to a second helicopter approaching the landing zone,” according to the document.

The inquiry concluded that the decision to load the force on one helicopter to minimize its exposure to ground fire and mass the troops “was tactically sound.”

After the Chinook carrying the SEALs descended to about 100 to 150 feet above the ground and slowed to about 58 miles per hour, a “previously undetected group of suspected Taliban fighters fired two or three RPGs,” rocket-propelled grenades, “in rapid succession from the tower of a two-story mud-brick building” about 220 meters south of the Chinook, according to the summary.

The first round missed the helicopter and the second struck and exploded, taking out about 10 feet of the rotor blade, the document states.

Multiple Explosions

“Within a matter of seconds, while the aircraft spun violently, the aft, then forward rotor blade systems separated from the aircraft, and the main fuselage dropped vertically into a dry creek bed. The airframe was immediately engulfed in a fireball, causing multiple secondary explosions of fuel and munitions until the aircraft burned out several hours later,” according to the summary.

Seventeen of the Americans killed were U.S. Navy SEALs, most from the elite force once known as SEAL Team Six that carried out the May 2 raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. None of those killed were from the unit involved in the bin Laden raid.

A full copy of the redacted report will be made available on the site after a final briefing of the findings, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, according to the release.

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

New Tests Likely for Ebola Vaccine First Tried in '99

Monday, 20 Oct 2014 08:03 AM

A vaccine that appears to stop Ebola in monkeys was successfully tested in 1999, but only now are efforts under way to a . . .

Obama to Bypass Congress on Easing of Iran Sanctions

Monday, 20 Oct 2014 07:37 AM

President Obama will not seek congressional approval for any deal his negotiator Wendy Sherman might reach with Iranian  . . .

Wisconsin Teachers Choosing to Pull Out of Unions

Monday, 20 Oct 2014 07:13 AM

Increasing numbers of teachers in Wisconsin are choosing not to remain union members now that they have a choice, with m . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved