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Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005

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Relief chopper crashes

BANDA ACEH (INDONESIA), JAN. 10. A U.S. helicopter with 10 persons on board crashed in a rice field as it was trying to land at the Banda Aceh airport on Monday while on a tsunami-relief operation, injuring at least two U.S. servicemen, a U.S. military spokesman said.

The injured men, along with eight other Navy personnel, were being flown back to their ship in Medan, 400 km southeast of Banda Aceh. The U.S. military suspended helicopter flights for about two hours after the crash. U.S. authorities said there was no indication the helicopter had been shot down.

There was a shooting incident close to a U.N. compound in Banda Aceh on Sunday that local police blamed on separatist rebels.

Authorities quickly cordoned off the area and U.S. officials began searching the field around the crash site.

— AP

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