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Helo Crash in Papua New Guinea

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Helicopter crash in PNG kills pilot, injures US Army personnel

Fri May 9, 3:25 AM ET



SYDNEY (AFP) - A helicopter flying US army personnel crashed into the sea off Papua New Guinea, killing the pilot and injuring one American, US officials said. The helicopter was flying three members of the US Army Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii (CILHI) on a search for the remains of nine US airmen lost when a bomber crashed in the region during World War II.


A spokeswoman for the US Army laboratory said Friday the chartered helicopter crashed with the pilot and four passengers on board early Friday near the PNG city of Lae."The helicopter had just taken off and was a few minutes into flight when it crashed," the spokeswoman, Ginger Couden, told the Australian Associated Press correspondent in PNG.


"There were three personnel from the US Army Central Identification Laboratory aboard, a representative from the Papua New Guinea National Museum and a Pacific Helicopters pilot," said Couden. "The pilot was killed, one of the CILHI personnel was injured and is in stable condition at Angau Memorial Hospital, Lae, and the others are in good condition," she said.


Couden said the search operations had been suspended and the US team was returning to Hawaii. There was no immediate indication of what caused the crash, but Couden said weather did not appear to have been a factor.

A 13-member US army search team arrived in PNG last week to find and identify the remains of nine crew members aboard the B-24 Liberator bomber which crashed in 1943.



Wreckage of the bomber was found last year on a mountainside 3,300 meters (10,900 feet) above sea level. The bomber had been flying a reconnaissance mission against Japanese positions when it went missing.

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The pilot was John Twitt from Melbourne, Australia and they are saying it might have been because he was "medically incapacitated" ie: might have had a stroke. All investigation so far says there was nothing wrong with the aircraft, and that came from the passengers who were all high time passengers in helicopters for the US Army.


Heli Ops

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