KABUL, Afghanistan – The U.S. military confirmed Thursday that all 16 service members aboard a special forces helicopter died when it crashed into a mountain ravine earlier this week, apparently after being shot down.
The remains of those killed were being recovered at the site in eastern Afghanistan where the MH-47 (search) chopper went down Tuesday. The helicopter crashed while ferrying reinforcements to a battle against the insurgents, the military said in a statement.
The military reported earlier that 17 people were on board but revised that figure to 16 later Thursday.
"At this point, we have recovered all 16 bodies of those service men who were onboard the MH-47 helicopter that crashed on Tuesday," Lt. Gen. James Conway (search), director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for downing the helicopter.
On Wednesday, U.S. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace (search) said investigators believed the helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, but they were "not 100 percent sure."