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Copter crash claims 4 Americans

The medevac craft was en route to the scene of a suicide bombing in southern Afghanistan.

KABUL, Afghanistan - A U.S. Black Hawk helicopter that went down in southern Afghanistan, killing four troops, was on its way to the scene of a suicide bombing at an Afghan police checkpoint, Afghan officials said Friday.

The cause of the crash in Helmand province on Thursday night has not been determined, military officials said, but the weather was stormy at the time. NATO's International Security Assistance Force confirmed the deaths of four service members on Friday evening, nearly 24 hours after the crash.

The bombing in Helmand's Garmsir district killed four police officers, including the outpost commander, and injured seven other officers, said Mohammad Fahim Gorbati, the district chief.

A provincial spokesman, Daoud Ahmadi, said there was no sign of insurgent activity at the time. The NATO force did not disclose the crew's mission, but Ahmadi said it was a medevac craft on its way to help those wounded in the bombing.

Helicopter crashes are not unusual in Afghanistan, where copters are heavily relied upon to transport troops and supplies. However, relatively few are downed by insurgent fire; many crashes are blamed on mechanical failure, pilot error or weather.

In August, insurgents shot down a Chinook transport helicopter in Wardak province, killing all 38 people on board, including 30 Americans and eight Afghans. That crash involved the largest loss of U.S. life during a single day of the war in Afghanistan.