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Helicopter delivering aid to displaced Yazidis crashes in Iraq

A helicopter delivering aid to displaced Yazidis on Iraq’s Sinjar mountain has crashed -- killing the pilot and injuring other passengers -- after too many people climbed aboard, Iraqi officials say.

Iraq's military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said in a statement that Iraqi parliamentarian Vian Dakheel, of the minority Yazidi community most affected by the fighting, was aboard the Mi-17 helicopter and was injured in the crash. She and others aboard were evacuated to a hospital in the nearby Kurdish autonomous region.

"The helicopter delivered aid to the people stranded in Sinjar and too many people boarded it and it hit the mountain during takeoff," said the Iraqi statement. Kurdish officials told the New York Times that there was no evidence of militant activity in the area.

The New York Times reported on its website that reporter Alissa J. Rubin, riding along on the helicopter for a story, suffered an apparent concussion and broken wrists in the crash. Photographer Adam Ferguson was also on board but uninjured.

A Kurdish regional government official told the newspaper that the helicopter pilot was killed in the crash.

Tens of thousands from the minority Yazidi sect have fled their homes after invading militants from the Islamic State group gave them an ultimatum to convert to Islam or be killed.

The displaced have been stranded on the Sinjar mountain range near the Syrian border with little food and water.

The Iraqi military as well as the U.S. and its allies have been flying supplies to help the people.

Al-Moussawi said Tuesday it was a Russian-made helicopter but gave no details on casualties.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.