June 30, 2005

Update on U.S. Chinook crash - No. 2

KABUL (Reuters) - Thirteen bodies have been recovered from the crash site of a U.S. military helicopter in eastern Afghanistan, but another seven U.S. soldiers are unaccounted for, the British Broadcasting Corp said on Thursday.

A report on the BBC Web Site quoted unnamed U.S. military officials on the recovery of the bodies from the site of Tuesday's crash in Kunar province, which borders Pakistan.

General Aminullah Patyani, the Afghan army commander for the east of the country, told Reuters "a few bodies" had been found at the site in the Dar-e-Paich area about 30 km (19 miles) northwest of Asadabad, but he did not know how many.

Patyani said the search operation was still going on but he did not have any information about any U.S. troops being captured by insurgents.

The BBC report said officials had said there was still hope that some of those unaccounted for were alive, but it also quoted correspondent Andrew North as saying that they may also have been captured by insurgents.

It said the BBC's North was at the U.S. military base at Asadabad, capital of Kunar. The aircraft crashed in the province after being hit by insurgent fire, the U.S. military said.

A U.S. military spokeswoman Kabul, Lieutenant Cindy Moore, said she could not confirm the BBC report.

"I don't know where they are getting that information," she said. I don't have what they are saying.

A U.S. official said in Washington Wednesday that all 17 U.S. troops aboard the helicopter, who included elite U.S. Navy Seals, were presumed to have died.

The U.S. military has yet to confirm any deaths.

Posted by Kyer at June 30, 2005 10:38 AM | TrackBack