updated 7/27/2006 4:17:41 AM ET 2006-07-27T08:17:41

A helicopter crashed in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, killing all 16 people on board, including at least two American civilians, officials said Thursday.

Afghan army and US.-led coalition troops have recovered 12 bodies and were searching for four more in the difficult, mountainous terrain where the civilian Mi-8 helicopter crashed on Wednesday, Col. Tom Collins, a coalition spokesman told reporters.

The Russian-made civilian helicopter crashed about 25 miles northeast of Khost city.

Collins said there was no indication yet what caused the crash. He said those on board included at least two Americans. The Dutch military has said two of its personnel were also on board — the first fatalities among Dutch forces in Afghanistan.

“There are no survivors,” Collins said. “The terrain in this area is extremely difficult and we are now working hard to recover the remaining crew and passengers.”

Copter rented by U.S.-based company
The helicopter was operated by a logistics firm, Tryco. A Tryco official in Kabul said the chopper was rented by Fluor, a U.S.-based company doing construction work in Khost province, about 90 miles south of the capital, Kabul.

The 16 people on board reportedly included at least three crew.

The Dutch military said two of its personnel, a lieutenant colonel from the air force and an army sergeant, were on the helicopter. Officials in Kabul declined to provide information about the other passengers.

Maj. Luke Knittig, a spokesman for a NATO-led security force in Afghanistan, said the helicopter had been flying to a so-called provincial reconstruction team base in Khost. The Dutch were studying security arrangements at the U.S.-run base to help them as they establish their own camps in restive Uruzgan province where hundreds of their troops are deploying as part of a NATO-led security force.

The Netherlands has more than 1,500 troops in Afghanistan, most of them in Uruzgan.

A coalition quick reaction team was deployed to the crash site Wednesday.

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