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US Military Helicopter Crashes in Northern Italy


A U.S. army helicopter has crashed in northern Italy, killing four people on board and injuring seven others. The causes of the crash are still unclear. For VOA, Sabina Castelfranco reports from Rome.

The crash occurred in a rural area outside the northern Italian city of Treviso, along the bank of the Piave river. The helicopter had taken off from the U.S. airbase in Aviano on a training mission with 11 American military on board.

Senior Airman Justin Weaver, a spokesman at the U.S. Air Force base in Aviano, provided the initial report of what occurred.

"A U.S. army UH-60 helicopter crashed at approximately noon today 20 miles south-west of Aviano," said Weaver. "Local carabinieri, which are Italian police and emergency response teams, have responded to the site and U.S. Air Force personnel at Aviano have offered their assistance at the crash site. A board of qualified officers will investigate the accident."

Four bodies were pulled from the charred wreckage of the Black Hawk helicopter. The others on board were injured, three of them seriously, and taken to nearby hospitals. There were no details on the cause of the crash.

Following the crash, Italy's defense minister Arturo Parisi sent a message to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressing his personal deep sympathy and solidarity and those of the Italian armed forces.

The UH-60 Black Hawk is the Army's general utility helicopter - used for transporting troops and equipment, air assault, medical evacuations and to support special operations as well as other missions.

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