Helicopter crash kills seven U.S. soldiers in southern Iraq

BAGHDAD — A Chinook helicopter carrying seven U.S. soldiers crashed in southern Iraq early Thursday morning, killing everyone aboard, a U.S. military spokesman said Thursday.

The Chinook was part of a four-helicopter aerial convoy flying from Kuwait to Balad, a large U.S. military base in northern Iraq. It crashed west of Basra.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated, but no hostile was involved, said Maj. John Hall. Weather was clear at the time, shortly after midnight.

Initial reports listed two soldiers as missing; their bodies were later found. The soldiers’ names will be released once their families have been notified.

The dual-rotor, heavy-lift Boeing CH-47 has been in use since the Vietnam War to haul artillery, ammunition, soldiers and battlefield supplies. In August, Boeing was awarded a $4.3 billion contract to build 191 of the CH-47F model helicopters.

(Spangler reports for The Miami Herald)