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The pilots of an Apache Longbow attack helicopter were able to walk away from the wreckage with only minor injuries after their aircraft crashed around 2 p.m. Thursday, officials said Friday.

While U.S. military officials were not speculating about a cause for the crash, Iraqi officials said the helicopter had been shot down. If true, it would be at least the second Apache shot down over Youssifiyah — southwest of Baghdad — in recent months.

Military officials did not say to which unit the AH-64D Apache that crashed Thursday was assigned, other than Multi-National Division-Baghdad, led by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division. In a Friday release, the command released more details about the incident.

“The pilots were safely extracted and taken to medical facilities at approximately 2:15 p.m.,” the release read, “and the site was secured by 3:05 p.m. The pilots have since been returned to duty.”

Military officials credited teamwork between units for the pilots’ safe return.

“The great skill and quick reactions of the pilots enabled them to walk away,” Brig. Gen. David Halverson, 4th ID’s assistant division commander for support, was quoted as saying in the release.

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from the 101st Airborne Division flying in the area was able to pick up the downed pilots less than 10 minutes after the crash, officials said. Ground troops with the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, secured the site and helped recover the aircraft.

“This incident has shown what great teamwork is all about,” Halverson was quoted as saying.


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