Helicopter Crashes in Southern Iraq; Three Dead

A Marine UH-1 Huey helicopter crashed Sunday at a forward supply and refueling point in southern Iraq, killing three U.S. servicemen and injuring one, the U.S. military said.

The cause of the 8:30 p.m. crash was unclear, although Central Command spokeswoman Capt. Dani Burrows said enemy fire was not involved.

Burrows said all four on board the helicopter were Marines. The helicopter had been taking off on a support mission.

The versatile Huey, which played a major role during the Vietnam War, is now the most widely used military helicopter. It is most often used in evacuations and moving supplies and troops. Some models can carry up to 12 passengers along with the two crewmembers.

Before Sunday's crash, 19 coalition servicemembers had been killed in helicopter accidents. A Sea Knight crashed in Kuwait on March 21, killing eight British Marines and four American Marines, and a day later two British Royal Navy helicopters collided over the Persian Gulf, killing all seven on board, including an American Navy officer.

Two Americans whose helicopter went down in central Iraq on March 24 were captured and shown on Iraqi television.