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Salvador Crash of U.S. Army Copter Kills 5

From Associated Press

A U.S. Army helicopter crashed in a lake east of San Salvador shortly after taking off Monday, killing the five Army personnel aboard, officials said.

The pilot of the UH-1H had reported mechanical trouble minutes before it went down in Lake Ilopango, at the edge of the capital, U.S. Embassy spokesman Jeff Brown said.

A U.S.-Salvadoran search for the bodies was suspended at midafternoon. U.S. divers said that they had located the spot where they believe the helicopter crashed but that the wreckage was about 270 feet down, too deep to reach.

A U.S. officer said the salvage crew would report back to authorities in San Salvador before determining what more might be done to recover the bodies.

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The helicopter, based at Soto Cano air base, 40 miles northeast of the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, took off from Salvadoran air force headquarters at Ilopango. Embassy officials said the aircraft was on a “routine inventory survey mission.”

Aboard were four Army crewmen who were based at Soto Cano and a U.S. Army administrative support specialist who was assigned to the U.S. military group in El Salvador, Brown said.

Their names were withheld pending notification of relatives.


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