A helicopter carrying 16 U.S. Marines and five crew members crashed near the North Korean border Tuesday. All onboard survived.
The passengers and pilot from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit were hospitalized, with 15 being treated and released and six remaining in stable condition.
The CH-53E Super Stallion chopper was making a routine flight near the Jipo-ri Range in South Korea's Jipo-ri Range — 55 miles north of Seoul — when it came in for a “hard landing,’’ according to NBC News.
The aircraft exploded into flames, but everybody managed to escape.
“The CH-53E has an excellent operational safety record. A comprehensive investigation will take place to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident," the U.S. Marines said in a statement.
Neighboring North Korea has threatened nuclear attacks on the United States, South Korea and Japan after new U.N. sanctions were imposed in response to its latest nuclear arms test in February.
North Korea has ripped the military exercises being conducted by the United States and South Korean forces, calling them “hostile.’’
The U.S. has stepped up its presence near the North Korea-South Korea border following threats of nuclear strikes by North Korea’s Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un.
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