Two US service members killed in NATO helicopter crash

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Two U.S. service members were among five NATO personnel killed Sunday when a British helicopter crashed in Kabul, officials said Monday.

“We’re deeply saddened by the loss of our teammates,” U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, military communications chief in Afghanistan, said in a statement. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected in this tragic incident, and we pray for the full recovery of the injured.”

{mosads}Two British service members and a French civilian contractor were the other deaths in the crash.

At about 4:15 p.m. local time Sunday, a British Puma Mk 2 helicopter crashed at Camp Resolute Support in Kabul. Officials have said an investigation into the crash is underway.

A security guard who witnessed the incident told The Associated Press that the aircraft appeared to strike a monitoring balloon as it landed at the NATO base.

U.S. Army Col. Brian Tribus, a spokesman in Afghanistan for U.S. and NATO forces, confirmed to the AP that there was an incident involving a NATO aircraft and an observation balloon. He also said the monitoring balloon was severed from its mooring but would not elaborate.

The crash was the second in Afghanistan in a month. Earlier in October, a C-130 cargo plane crashed near Jalalabad, killing the six U.S. service members and five civilian contractors aboard, as well as several Afghan civilians on the ground.

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