A helicopter crash in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Thursday killed members of an international peacekeeping force, and six American troops are among the dead.
Fox News reported the chopper was a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter, which went down off the southern coast of the peninsula near Tiran Island.
An official with knowledge of the crash told the outlet the suspected cause of the crash was a mechanical failure.
A United Nations official told Fox News, “At this point, there is no information to indicate the crash was anything except an accident.”
Six Americans died, while a seventh was saved from the wreckage.
Two other individuals were also killed.
According to The Associated Press, the other service members who perished were French and Czech.
Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller issued a statement about the deadly incident.
“The Defense Department is deeply saddened by the loss of six U.S. and two partner nation service members in a helicopter crash in the Sinai Peninsula operating with the United Nations Multinational Force and Observers (MFO).”
“Yesterday we recognized the sacrifice of millions of American veterans who have defended our nation for generations, and today we are tragically reminded of the last full measure our uniformed warriors may pay for their service.
“I extend the Department’s condolences to the families, friends and teammates of these service members.”
The U.N. Multinational Force’s mission “is to supervise the implementation of the security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace and employ best efforts to prevent any violation of its terms,” according to the force’s website.
The mission has kept between 300 and 400 U.S. troops on the Sinai Peninsula since 1979 to promote and monitor peace between Israel and Egypt..
The U.N. Multinational Force issued a statement about the crash to the AP.
“During a routine mission in the vicinity of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, nine members of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) were involved in a helicopter crash,” it said.
“We are deeply saddened to report that eight uniformed MFO members were killed; six U.S. citizens, one French, and one Czech,” the statement said. “One U.S. MFO Member survived and was medically evacuated. Names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.”
The statement to the AP concluded, “The MFO will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the accident. … At this point, there is no information to indicate the crash was anything except an accident. We greatly appreciate the cooperation and support of Egypt and Israel in the recovery effort.”
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