2 Black Hawk helicopters collide in Baghdad

/ Source: The Associated Press

Two U.S. helicopters collided while landing at a base in Baghdad on Saturday, killing one Iraqi soldier and injuring two American troops and two other Iraqis, the military said.

The UH-60 Black Hawks crashed at about 8:55 p.m. in a northern section of the capital, the military said. The total number of people on board was not immediately known.

It was not clear how severe the collision was but it did not appear to have been caused by hostile fire, military spokesman Capt. Charles Calio said. An investigation into the incident was under way.

Two Iraqi police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information, said the crash occurred during clashes between gunmen and U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in northern Baghdad. The military said it had no information about clashes.

It was the second helicopter crash in two weeks.

A CH-47 Chinook crashed in the southern desert about 60 miles west of Basra on Sept 18, killing all seven American soldiers on board. The military said that the crash apparently was due to a mechanical problem, not hostile fire.

The U.S. military relies heavily on helicopters to ferry troops, dignitaries and supplies to avoid the threat of ambushes and roadside bombs. At least 70 U.S. helicopters have gone down since the war started in March 2003, according to military figures. Of those, 36 were confirmed to have been shot down.