Report: Navy Aircraft Involved in Iraq Search-and-Rescue Mission


A mission to recover a U.S. Army reconnaissance plane that went down March 5 in northern Iraq included Navy helicopters and Air Force personnel, according to a news article.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said Air Force pararescuemen and Navy choppers from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 5 out of Norfolk, Virginia, participated in the mission, which was launched from the nearby city of Erbil, according to an article in The Washington Post.

"All that training paid off," Richardson told the Post. "They were up, airborne and at the location of the accident within four minutes of the alert. That was pretty good timing."

Navy officials referred all inquiries regarding the mission to U.S. Central Command.

A spokesman for U.S. Central Command, Air Force Capt. Bryant Davis, confirmed to that a military aircraft had gone down in Iraq.

"A U.S. twin turboprop, fixed wing aircraft conducted an off-airport emergency landing in a field northwest of Irbil Saturday morning," he said. "None of the four crew members were injured. The scene was secured by local officials and U.S. forces. The cause of the crash is under investigation but initial reports rule out the prospect of hostile action."

The rescue personnel got the four crew members out of the downed aircraft, according to the Post report, established a perimeter, and administered first aid. Defense Department officials told media outlets none of the crew were seriously injured.

The crashed aircraft, a passenger jet, was equipped with the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System, an Army technology, the Post reported March 5. Images posted by the news agency Rudaw English show the small aircraft landed in a field while armed U.S. troops create a security perimeter.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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