LONDON – A British military helicopter crashed in the southern Iraqi city of Basra (search) on Monday, killing one crew member, the Ministry of Defense said.
Two other crew members were injured in the crash of the Puma helicopter, the ministry said, adding that an investigation was under way. Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said it was unlikely that the chopper had been attacked.
"It appears unlikely that hostile action was the case, but it is too soon to confirm any other details," Hoon told the House of Commons. Lawmakers from all parties extended sympathy to the families of the troops involved.
A British military official in Basra said the support aircraft crashed on the runway in Basra.
It wasn't immediately clear what caused the crash, but insurgents were not believed to be involved, said Capt. Hisham Halawi, spokesman for the British forces in Basra.
"There will be a full investigation," Halawi said. "It all points to being an accident ... but we can't confirm that until the full investigation is completed."
He said it appeared the helicopter was returning from a mission about 8 a.m when it crashed.
The incident brought the British military's death toll since the start of the Iraq war to 60.
The Puma is a twin-engined support helicopter capable of carrying up to 20 troops. It entered service with the Royal Air Force (search) in 1971.