Source Pravda.Ru

Afghan helicopter crash was an accident, Spanish investigators says

Spanish investigators suspect an accident rather than an attack caused the military helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed all 17 Spanish soldiers on board, officials said on Wednesday.

But the armed forces still were not completely ruling out that the helicopter may have been shot down on Tuesday, a spokesman in the prime minister's office said.

"Nothing has been ruled out, but the experts say that so far there is no evidence that it could have been neither attack nor friendly fire," the spokesman said. "There were very strong winds in the area," he said, reports Reuters.

According to BBC, five other Spanish troops were hurt when a second Puma helicopter made an emergency landing. Spanish Defense Minister Jose Bono refused to rule out the possibility that the helicopters had come under attack. Spanish Defense Minister Jose Bono refused to rule out the possibility that the helicopters had come under attack. What is clear for us is that there was definitely no attack by militants "It may have been an accident or it may have been an attack from the outside," he said on Tuesday.

But a senior Afghan military official said the helicopters were not shot down. "What is clear for us is that there was definitely no attack by militants," Maj Gen Shar Mohammed Karimi told Associated Press.

"We suspect one of the helicopters may have accidentally hit the other while flying. The other possibility is that the choppers had technical problems," he said.

A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, Maj Andrew Elmes, said the incident was more likely a case of "mechanical failure".

The crash is the second air disaster for Spanish troops in Afghanistan. Sixty-two peacekeepers died in a plane crash in Turkey in 2003 when returning from Afghanistan.