WASHINGTON – A U.S. Army helicopter crashed Monday in eastern Afghanistan, injuring 14 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division.
No one was killed, officials said.
Army Col. Frank Wiercinski, speaking for the 101st in Kandahar, Afghanistan, said 24 soldiers were aboard the helicopter and 10 escaped injury. The injured, none of whom were in danger of dying, were flown to a medical facility at Baghram airport north of the Afghan capital Kabul.
Wiercinski said the pilot apparently failed to see holes in the ground at the landing site due to darkness and dust. He said the soldiers were members of the 187th Regiment of the 101st Airborne.
Central Command, which is responsible for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, issued a brief statement saying a CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter was extensively damaged in a hard landing near Khost. According to the statement, the cause of the accident is under investigation and relatives of the injured are being contacted.
The crash occurred at about 11:30 a.m. EST, or early evening in Afghanistan, Central Command reported.
A Pentagon official said the helicopter was ferrying members of the 101st Airborne to a U.S. Marine Corps encampment near Khost. The soldiers are replacing the Marines, who have been using the outpost in their search for Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.
Wiercinski said the helicopter was on a "combat mission," but would not provide further details.
It was the latest in a series of U.S. military aircraft accidents in and around Afghanistan. The most deadly was the crash of a Marine Corps KC-130 refueling aircraft in Pakistan on Jan. 9 in which seven Marines were killed. On Jan. 20, a CH-53E Super Stallion crashed south of Baghram, killing two of the seven Marines aboard.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.