Crew rescued after Kiowa copter is downed in Iraq
The two-man crew of an OH-58 Kiowa attack helicopter were rescued Monday after it was shot down by enemy fire, officials said Tuesday.
According to a news release issued by the U.S. military command in Baghdad, the pilots were rescued by an AH-64 Apache helicopter crew. The Kiowa pilots — identified only as belonging to Task Force Marne — were reportedly recovering from minor injuries suffered in the incident.
“An Air Force Thunderbolt II destroyed the downed helicopter with two 500-pound laser-guided bombs after the pilots were evacuated from the area,” the statement read.
U.S. troops sometimes destroy damaged military equipment on the battlefield in order to prevent insurgents from using parts or munitions to gather intelligence or mount attacks.
Earlier this year, a spate of incidents saw at least six U.S. military helicopters brought down by enemy fire. Since the spring, however, the reported incidents of ground fire hitting aircraft have gone down.
The Kiowa incident is under investigation.
See a Department of Defense video of the rescue here. In this video, taken Tuesday in Iraq, an unidentified soldier is seen strapped to outside of the Apache rescue helicopter starting at the 11-second mark.