Several people were reportedly injured when an Iraqi aid helicopter crashed while trying to take people off of a mountain where they had been trapped by fighters loyal to extremist group the Islamic State. Children are believed to be among the helicopter’s passengers, according to Iraqi state TV.
Initial reports state that out of as many as 20 people who were aboard the aircraft, its pilot is the only one who died; we’ll update this post as details emerge. ITV News editor Lufti abu-Aun has tweeted a photo of what he said was another helicopter that had retrieved the injured from the crash site.
The aid helicopter had taken off from Mount Sinjar after delivering aid and taking on passengers. In addition to carrying people belonging to the besieged Yazidi religious minority, the copter’s passengers included journalists from The New York Times and, according to abu-Aun, an Iraqi member of Parliament named Vian Dakhil.
From The New York Times:
“Alissa J. Rubin, 56, the Times’ Paris bureau chief and a longtime war correspondent, suffered an apparent concussion and broken wrists but was conscious, she confirmed when contacted briefly by cellphone. Adam Ferguson, 35, a freelance photographer working for the Times who was accompanying her, said via cellphone that he was not injured.”
News of the crash comes one day after a dramatic rescue by an Iraqi air force helicopter, in which CNN’s Ivan Watson described a frenzied rush to put children onto the craft that had just delivered supplies at Mount Sinjar.