- A helicopter assigned to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) crashed Thursday, killing five American service members and two foreign troops.
- The aircraft crashed off the coast of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, and a mechanical failure is reportedly suspected to have been the cause, though the incident will be investigated further.
- Troops in the MFO supervise the implementation of the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, and the mission is supported by 13 countries, including the US.
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Five Americans were killed Thursday when a helicopter assigned to an international peacekeeping force crashed off the coast of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
In total, seven of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) helicopter’s passengers died when the aircraft crashed near Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. Among those that died were also one French citizen and one Czech.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss on November 12, 2020, of seven of our uniformed military colleagues from three countries who died in a helicopter crash during a routine mission,”MFO said in its latest statement on the crash.
One US service member involved in the MFO mission survived the crash and was medically evacuated.
The names of the service members killed in the incident are currently being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
“The Defence Department is deeply saddened by the loss of six U.S. and two partner nation service members in a helicopter crash in the Sinai Peninsula operating with the United Nations Multinational Force and Observers (MFO),” acting Secretary of Defence Chris Miller said in a statement issued prior to the updated casualty count.
“Yesterday we recognised the sacrifice of millions of American veterans who have defended our nation for generations, and today we are tragically reminded of the last full measure our uniformed warriors may pay for their service,” he continued. “I extend the Department’s condolences to the families, friends and teammates of these service members.”
The MFO said that the incident will be investigated but added that “at this point, there is no information to indicate the crash was anything except an accident.”
An Egyptian official said that the UH-60 Black Hawk was conducting a reconnaissance mission at the time of the incident, which was likely caused by a technical failure, the Associated Press reported. Officials told Fox News the same, suggesting that a mechanical failure is likely to blame.
The MFO is tasked with overseeing the implementation of security provisions outlined in the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. Thirteen countries, including the United States, contribute military personnel in support of the MFO mission, according to the organisation.
Update: This post has been updated. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the number killed in the crash due to an erroneous statement by the MFO. The latest MFO statement reports five US troops were killed in the crash.
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