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January 23, 2007



This is in fact the third such incident in the past two weeks or so. A Moldovan-crewed Antonov, apparently carrying mostly Turkish construction contractors, went down near Balad earlier this month, killing all but one of the 35 crew and passengers. As there was at most, only one US citizen on the flight, this one got swallowed up in the memory hole fairly quickly.

As is usually the case, an insurgent group claimed responsibility for downing the aircraft; according to the US military the incident is still under investigation.


As a follow up to the previous comment, January has been the worst month for fatal aviation incidents in Iraq ever since the occupation began ( ie since May 2003 ), accounting for about 30% of all such incidents that I'm aware of ( 13 out of 43 ).

By the numbers, this January is no different than Jan 2004, 2005 or 2006.

There's a Wikipedia listing of all the coalition military aviation incidents - fatal and non-fatal - since the invasion that is worth perusing. Google "coalition aircraft crashes in Iraq" to bring it up. It omits contractor-operated aviation though.

John Robb

You are exactly right. I wrote off the Antonov due to pilot error, but probably shouldn't have given the latest. The claims really don't matter, but the crash investigations do. The latest two seem to be from anti-air.

A hundred or so good anti-air weapons could put a real crimp in operations.


According to the various reports that I've seen this AM, the PMC copter, which was part of the convoy security package for a US state department official, was brought down by light arms fire; a gunner on a second copter is reported to have been killed as well.

There's a fairly detailed account at Iraqslogger.com.


Wait until the insurgents/freedom fighters/wranglers over who will be in charge when the foreigners leave,get kicked out, (take your pick according to sympathies!) figure out that an R/C hobby plane with a grenade in is a poor man's guided missile!For the price of a Kalashnokov, yet!


The insurgency has learned how to ambush helicopters. This is not the first, not by a long ways. I was in a briefing (unclass) by a Marine LCOL helo pilot who described how he flew into such an ambush in early 2005.

First they ambush ground units, knowing this will bring air support. There are other gunners (rockets and light arms) waiting for the helos. Sometimes they use bait for the ground units to make the trap more attractive.

Judging from the further detail in the latest reports, it really sounds like this PMC helo was ambushed. Maybe the Blackhawk too, though I haven't seen any more detail on it.

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