A helicopter crash in Afghanistan killed 31 Americans, including as many as 25 Navy SEALs in one of the worst single-day U.S. losses of life since the war began, a senior military official told ABC News early this morning.
A total of 38 people were on board the Chinook helicopter when it crashed overnight in the eastern Afghan province of Wardak.
Initial reports indicate up to 25 Navy SEALs were on the aircraft at the time.
It was also carrying seven Afghan Special Forces troops, one interpreter, five member helicopter crew and one dog.
Troops were apparently involved in a raid at the time.
"We are aware of an incident involving a helicopter in eastern Afghanistan," U.S. Air Force Capt. Justin Brockhoff, a NATO spokesman, told the Associated Press. "We are in the process of accessing the facts."
Although the Taliban have claimed to have shot the helicopter down, the exact cause of the crash is still under investigation.
On July 25, a Chinook was hit by a rocket propelled grenade fired by the Taliban. It launched in the belly of the aircraft which made a hard landing and only two soldiers were injured in that attack but this time all on board were killed.
Saturday's deaths bring the total number of coalition troops killed in Afghanistan to 334 this year, according to the Associated Press.
The last worst one-day U.S. casuality record in Afghanistan was on June 28, 2005 when 16 U.S. soldiers were killed in Kunar province after a helicopter was shot down by Taliban insurgents
Another official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the event while the investigation remains ongoing, said that the Rangers, special operations forces who work regularly with the SEALs, secured the crash site afterwards.
38 people - including 30 American Special Forces troops and eight Afghan soldiers - were killed when the blast brought down the helicopter early Saturday.
Of the 30, 22 Navy SEALs from the elite 'Team Six' unit that killed Osama bin Laden lost their lives.
On Sunday, the names of the Americans aboard the chopper began to be released.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2023123/Special-forces-helicopter-shot-Afghanistan-mission-rescue-fellow-Navy-SEALs.html#ixzz1UYKQggql
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