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Five Marines Die in Chopper Crash

Five Marines Die in Chopper Crash

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Four U.S. Marines on a resupply mission were killed when their helicopter crashed into a canal in central Iraq and a fifth drowned trying to save them, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

The Ch-46 Sea-Knight helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff Monday afternoon in the Shat al-Hillah Canal in Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Two Marines on the canal's banks jumped into the water to help, and one died trying, the military said. Iraqis and other Marines on the scene pulled those two from the water, Centcom said.

A recovery effort was under way for the others Tuesday afternoon, the military said. The cause was under investigation, though the military said it appeared to be an accident.

The victims' names were not immediately released so their families could be notified.

The Sea-Knight is a workhorse helicopter used by the Navy and Marine Corps to move cargo or troops. It normally operates with a crew of four and has been in service for more than three decades.

On May 9, three American soldiers were killed and a fourth injured when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed in the Tigris River not far from the northern city of Tikrit during the rescue of an Iraqi child wounded in an explosion.

(Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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