(TheIndependentStar.com) – In a tragic incident, five American service members died in a helicopter crash in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The MH-60 helicopter, employed in a training exercise, encountered a catastrophic “mishap,” as described by the U.S. military.
These service members, identified as Army special operations soldiers, were in the middle of a standard air refueling mission. Details were first disclosed by The New York Times and Washington Post and later confirmed by two officials. Despite extensive search and rescue operations, efforts were eventually ceased.
In its initial announcement, the U.S. European Command detailed that the cause of the crash was still under investigation. However, they also stated that there was no evidence suggesting any involvement of hostile forces in this incident.
The helicopter was operating near Cyprus at the time of the crash. A third U.S. official revealed that the crew was a component of the special operations forces recently deployed to the region. This deployment was a precautionary measure to assist in potential evacuations of American citizens from the volatile Israel-Hamas conflict.
The identities of the dead service members have not been disclosed, pending the notification of their families.
Reflecting on the tragedy, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed his condolences. He stated that “while we continue to gather more information about this deadly crash, it is another stark reminder that the brave men and women who defend our great nation put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our country safe. They represent the best of America. We will remember their service and their sacrifice.”
Secretary Austin further offered his prayers for the lost soldiers, their families, loved ones, and teammates.
A discrepancy initially arose between the European Command and Austin’s statement regarding the exact timing of the incident, but the Pentagon later clarified that it occurred late last week.
The Biden administration also acknowledged the sacrifice of these military members, highlighting their everyday bravery and selflessness as a testament to the nation’s best qualities. Recognizing the timing of the incident, coinciding with the commencement of Veterans Day weekend, Biden expressed the nation’s obligation to those who serve and their families.