Colombian police say that 15 officers have died when the Black Hawk helicopter they were traveling in crashed in the volatile northwest part of the country.

The police said in a statement that two other uniformed personnel are being treated for serious injuries.

Investigators are rushing to the scene to investigate what led to the crash in a jungled area near the Gulf of Uraba region. The crash site is in an area heavily influenced by Colombia's biggest drug-trafficking organization and leftist rebels, but police said that preliminary data suggest that a mechanical failure is to blame.

The incident follows the death of 11 air force personnel whose airplane crashed last week near the Caribbean coast.