Venezuelan military helicopter crashes, 7 officers killed

Seven Venezuelan military officers have been killed when their helicopter crashed while heading to a state where President Nicolas Maduro appeared alongside troops Saturday.

The Cougar helicopter hurtled into a mountain outside Caracas in the early hours of an overcast day in the capital.

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Pro-interim government opposition leader Juan Guaido, and pro-Nicolas Maduro supporters, separated by members of the uniformed Secret Service, rally outside of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Pro-interim government opposition leader Juan Guaido, and pro-Nicolas Maduro supporters, separated by members of the uniformed Secret Service, rally outside of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The armed forces in a statement said the chopper was heading to San Carlos in Cojedes state. That's an hour away from a military academy where Maduro appeared early Saturday overseeing training exercises in a display of confidence in his armed forces following a week of intrigue that saw a small cadre of soldiers turn against him in an opposition-led uprising.

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On board were two lieutenant colonels as well as five lower-ranking officers.

The statement didn't say if the chopper was part of the presidential delegations.