U.S. Chopper Crashes in Baghdad

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An Army helicopter crashed in southwest Baghdad on Friday night, and the fate of the crew was not immediately known, a U.S. military official said.

U.S. military officials do not believe the helicopter was hit by hostile fire, Lt. Col. James Hutton said.

The OH-58 Kiowa (search) helicopter usually carries a crew of two pilots and is unlikely to carry large numbers of passengers.

Ground units were at the scene, but the status of the crew was not immediately known, Hutton told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. Kiowas are used mostly for surveillance purposes.

Other helicopters were flying over the crash site in southwest Baghdad to provide cover for the ground search and rescue units, Hutton said.

The crash comes two days after a U.S. helicopter transporting troops went down in bad weather in the western desert, killing 30 Marines and one sailor — in the deadliest single incident for U.S. forces in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion.

The military is still investigating what caused that CH53E Super Stallion (search) to crash.