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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – A NATO helicopter operating in Paktia province in eastern Afghanistan was forced to make a “hard landing” Monday, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition said. No one was reported to be seriously injured.

The hard landing, a term that can vary in terms of cause and severity, comes two days after a CH-47 Chinook helicopter was apparently shot down in nearby Wardak province. Thirty U.S. servicemembers and eight Afghans died in the crash.

Monday’s “forced landing,” as it was characterized by U.S. Air Force Capt. Justin Brockhoff, also involved a CH-47. Brockhoff said the extent of the damage to the Chinook was not immediately known.

Early indications are that only the crew was onboard at the time of the landing, said Brockhoff, who spoke by phone from Afghanistan.

Hard or forced landings, characterized by the unplanned rapid descent of an aircraft, can be caused by several things, including enemy fire, weather, mechanical problems or pilot error.

“The cause of the hard landing is under investigation,” Brockhoff said.

The Associated Press reported, citing an officer in the war zone, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, that the helicopter was flying in to pick up special operations troops, but apparently suffered a mechanical failure. AP said the crew was rescued by the troops.

From staff reports

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