The Multinational Force and Observers that monitors the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement confirmed the deaths of seven peacekeepers in a helicopter crash during a routine mission in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Thursday.
The MFO said the U.S. Army Black Hawk’s victims included five Americans, and a French and Czech national. The force did not release the names of the dead, pending the family notification.
The force said an eighth crew member, also an American, survived and was airlifted to a hospital. The MFO said there was no indication the crash was “anything except an accident.”
In a statement released by the U.S. Defense Department, acting Secretary Chris Miller paid tribute to the lost service members.
“Yesterday, we recognized the sacrifice of millions who have defended our nation, and today we are reminded of the last full measure our warriors may pay for their service.”
Miller offered his condolences to the families and friends of the service members killed in the crash.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden expressed his condolences to family members of the deceased in a tweet Thursday.
“I join all Americans in honoring their sacrifice, as I keep their loved ones in my prayers,” he wrote.
Founded after the Egyptian-Israeli peace deal in 1979, the MFO is made up of troops from 13 countries, with the United States making the largest contribution. Its responsibilities include monitoring troops levels and ensuring the freedom of navigation through the Strait of Tiran at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba. Last year, the U.S. provided about $31 million to the organization.
Thursday's crash was the deadliest crash for the U.S. military this year.