- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2003

KUWAIT CITY, March 21 (UPI) — Eight Britons and four Americans were killed in the first allied casualty of the war against Iraq after their Chinook CH-46E helicopter crashed just south of the Kuwait-Iraq border, officials at the Pentagon said.

The crashed occurred south of Umm-Qasar in Kuwait at 3 a.m. local time Friday near Highway 801, a British military spokesman in Qatar said.

"I'd like first to express my personal, and the British Government's, condolences to the family and loved ones of the service personnel who perished overnight in the helicopter accident," said British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw,

Officials said the crash was an accident.

Introduced into the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in 1978, the CH-46E is used to provide all-weather, day-or-night assault transport of combat troops, supplies and equipment. Troop assault is the primary function and the movement of supplies and equipment is secondary, the Navy says.

The vehicle, which is made by Boeing, is sometimes used in combat support, search and rescue, support for forward refueling and rearming points, aeromedic evacuation of casualties and recovery of aircraft and personnel.

The CH-46E has a crew of four: a pilot, co-pilot, crew chief and mechanic. It can carry a maximum of 22 troops and two aerial gunners, according to the Navy. The aircraft can carry a maximum of 5,000 pounds, and travels up to 145 knots, or 166.75 mph. It has a range of 132 nautical miles, or 151.8 miles, for land assault mission, the Navy says.

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