World

Insurgents downed Canadian chopper: military

Taliban insurgents were responsible for the downing of a Canadian Chinook helicopter in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, the Canadian military confirmed Saturday.
Canadian soldiers gather near a burning Canadian Forces CH-147 Chinook helicopter after it made a hard landing southwest of Kandahar on Thursday. ((Bob Strong/Reuters))
Taliban insurgents were responsible for the downing of a Canadian Chinook helicopter in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, the Canadian military confirmed Saturday.

The helicopter was brought down by small arms fire from insurgents, the military said at a briefing at the Kandahar base.

The small arms fire "caused a fire in the fuel line below the helicopter, forcing it come down," said the CBC's Cameron MacIntosh, who attended the briefing.

"When it landed, it burst into flames and the helicopter basically burned to the ground," he said.

Investigators went through the wreckage and found evidence that the chopper had been hit by small arms fire.

A senior military officer described it as "an extremely lucky shot," MacIntosh said.

The chopper made what military officials called a "hard landing" two days ago in Kandahar province's Panjwaii District, a volatile area under the command of Canadian Forces.

Chopper crew praised

Eight Canadian soldiers suffered minor injuries. The chopper was carrying a crew of five, along with 16 passengers.

"Although a helicopter has been lost, this incident highlights the skills of Canadian aircrews deployed in Afghanistan," said Brig.-Gen. Jon Vance, commander of Task Force Kandahar.

"The fact that no one was seriously harmed during the emergency landing speaks to the ability of our aircrews to perform under pressure, which they did in a textbook fashion," he said.

A Taliban spokesman told The Associated Press on Thursday that the helicopter was shot down with a rocket.

 

now