Iraqi Mi-17 helicopter crashes near Tuz Khurmatu, killing 5 crew on board
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Five Iraqi helicopter crew members were killed overnight on Wednesday when their Mi-17 helicopter crashed in Tuz Khurmatu district in Salahuddin province, the army said.
The crew were flying a mission around 2:30 a.m. in the north of Amrli sub-district north of Baghdad, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said on Thursday.
They were identified as Osama Tariq Abd Obaid, Ali Fadel Ghadban, Louay Hatem Farhan, Atheer Fayez Ibrahim, and Wissam Ali Sfeih.
The reason for the crash has not been identified yet.
Col. Wayne Marotto, spokesperson for the US-led coalition aginst ISIS, confirmed the crew were on a combat mission.
"We must not forget the valuable contribution they made to their country & impact they had on the #defeatdaesh mission," Marotto added.
Territories disputed between Baghdad and Erbil remain a hotbed for the remnants of ISIS.
Iraq purchased 14 Russian-made Mi-171E helicopters in 2010 at a cost of $190 million. The Mi-171E is equipped with engines that allow it to operate at high temperatures common in the Iraqi summer.
Another Iraqi Mi-17 variant, an Mi-8M, crashed south of Baghdad in 2010, also killing the five crew members. During the war against ISIS, an Iraqi Mi-17 crashed in 2017 while on a routine flight near Kut in the southern part of the country, killing the two pilots and five army officers on board. That crash was blamed on a technical malfunction.