14 Americans Killed in Afghanistan Helicopter Crash

Today is the deadliest day in years for U.S. troops in the country.

ByABC News
October 26, 2009, 5:06 AM

Oct. 26, 2009 — -- Fourteen Americans died this morning after two helicopters collided and a third chopper crashed in Afghanistan on the deadliest day in years for U.S. troops in the country.

Seven U.S. service members and three U.S. civilians died in the single-helicopter crash, which injured 11 U.S. service members, one U.S. civilian and 14 Afghans.

The helicopter was carrying U.S. special forces troops and Afghan soldiers away from a raid on a drug operation in Badghis province in northwestern Afghanistan which resulted in a firefight that left 12 enemy fighters dead, Defense Department officials said.

The helicopter crashed in the dark about about 4 a.m. It wasn't immediately known how far from the firefight the chopper traveled before going down.

The Taliban claimed to have shot down the helicopter. Military officials said they did not know what caused the crash, but did not believe it was brought down by enemy fire.

The dead service members were part of U.S. Special Operations forces, a U.S. defense official said.

In a separate incident, four U.S. service members were killed and two injured when two helicopters collided and crashed in southern Afghanistan.

The collision involved two Marine helicopters, a UH-1 Huey and a Cobra attack helicopter, Marine spokesman for 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Afghanistan , Maj. William Pelletier, told ABC News. Both helicopters were flying together in the dark about 1:30 a.m.

The two choppers were on what is being described as a routine flight over central Helmand. Military officials did not want to give out more information about the exact spot of the crash because recovery efforts are still under way.

All indications right now are that the cause of the collision did not involve hostile fire. As with all crashes there will be a full investigation to determine the exact cause of the crash.

The "separate tragedies today underscore the risks our forces and our partners face every day," said a spokesman for the International Joint Security Forces Operations.

Neither incident resulted from hostile fire, according to the military.

This has been the deadliest year for international and U.S. troops since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. August was the deadliest month yet for U.S. soldiers in the country, with 51 troops killed.

Forty-three U.S. troops have died so far this month.