Venezuelan military helicopter crashes into boat

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A Venezuelan military helicopter crashed into a navy research boat Tuesday and plunged into the sea, leaving two missing and five injured, an official said.

The pilot and four crew members on the boat were injured, while the co-pilot and another man who was aboard the helicopter were missing, Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami told state television.

The military helicopter crashed into the bow of a navy oceanographic research vessel that was in front of Playa Valdez port off Margarita Island, said Rafael Lugo, who leads a civilian marine rescue organization.

There was no immediate comment from the military.

Venezuela’s military has suffered several other recent helicopter crashes.

Last month, a National Guard helicopter crashed during a counter-drug mission near the Colombian border, killing all 10 soldiers on board. In May 2009, a military helicopter patrolling near the Colombian border crashed, killing 16 soldiers and a civilian. In June 2008, an army helicopter crashed while landing at a Caracas military base, injuring two crew members but leaving passengers unhurt.

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