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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Helicopter shot down over Lebanon

An IDF helicopter was shot down over Lebanon this evening. There are injuries; no one is saying yet how many or how serious they are. YNet is reporting that the helicopter was shot down with an anti-tank missile shortly after it took off after dropping soldiers in the field. Hezbullah is claiming that a new missile called a Waad was used. Hopefully, the fact that the helicopter was apparently shot after it dropped off soldiers will minimize the casualties.

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the helicopter was shot down in the Maryamein valley near the village of Yater, and other helicopters scrambled to the area to try to rescue the crew. This was the 4th helicopter to crash since the war began one month ago. Two helicopters crashed into each other and another helicopter crashed due to mechanical failure over northern Israel.

The US-made Sikorsky CH-53, which is known in Hebrew as the Yasur, is the workhorse of the IDF. The 1960s vintage aircraft has been upgraded by the IAF and is made to carry up to 50 passengers. But due to the 1977 crash of a CH-53 in which 54 paratroopers and crewmen were killed, the IDF restricted its maximum seating to 35 soldiers plus a three-man crew.


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