Friday, June 20, 2008

Bosnia: EU helicopter crashes killing four peacekeepers

Sarajevo, 19 June (AKI) – A Spanish helicopter used by the European Union EUFOR peacekeeping force in Bosnia crashed on Thursday, killing four people on board, officials said.

The Spanish defence ministry in Madrid however said two Spanish pilots and two German officers were killed in the crash.

EUFOR spokesman in Sarajevo, Kerry Korkett said the helicopter was on a routine flight near the central city of Travnik when it crashed in a mountainous area.

He said the area was inaccessible and it was not initially possible to establish whether there were survivors.

“The helicopter came down 20 kilometers north of Travnik and four persons were on board,” Korkett said. “EUFOR has initiated a procedure to investigate the cause of the incident as soon as possible,” he added.

The ministry said the BO-105 helicopter sent a SOS signal before crashing. Another helicopter flying the same route reportedly saw smoke before the helicopter crashed on the ground.

International forces have been stationed in Bosnia on a peace-keeping mission since the end of civil war in 1995.

The EU's current 2,000-strong multinational force took over in 2005 from NATO.

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