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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Six Killed in Chopper Crash Near Tikrit

Aired November 7, 2003 - 06:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get details now on that deadly helicopter crash near Saddam Hussein's ancestral home of Tikrit.
Our Matthew Chance is live for us once again in Baghdad this morning.

Matthew -- the very latest.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Heidi.

Well, it's been confirmed to us that all six people on board that U.S. Black Hawk helicopter, which came down just a short distance from the outskirts of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown, earlier this morning. It's the second U.S. helicopter that has come down in Iraq in less than a week.

What's not clear at this stage is what was the cause of this crash. Was it hostile fire? Was it some kind of mechanical failure?

Well, earlier the chopper, which was flying in formation with another Black Hawk, the people from that second Black Hawk have said they didn't see any hostile fire coming from the ground. However, there are eyewitness reports that are coming trickling through to us now from Tikrit, which is about 100 miles, 160 kilometers, to the north of the Iraqi capital, that there may have been some hostile fire involved, and that the chopper may have been forced down.

U.S. investigators are at the scene, gathering whatever forensic evidence they can to try and determine what was the cause of the crash. I have to stress at this stage the exact cause has not yet been determined and certainly not announced by the U.S. forces who are investigating.

But it brings to six the number killed in this incident.

Of course, at the same time, further north in Mosul, the 101st Airborne Division came under attack from an ambush -- another soldier killed there, another six injured as well.

So, a very dangerous and bloody day here in Iraq.

COLLINS: Matthew Chance live for us today coming from Baghdad. Matthew, thanks so much.

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