5 US servicemen killed in helicopter crash in Egypt identified

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JERUSALEM (NewsNation Now) – The U.S. military on Saturday announced the names of the five U.S. servicemen killed in a helicopter crash on Thursday.

The deceased are:

Captain Seth Vernon Vandekamp, ​​31, of Katy, Texas.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, 34, from Fayetteville, NC

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan Sameh Ghabour, 27, from Marlborough, Massachusetts

Staff Sgt. Kyle Robert McKee, 35, of Painesville, Ohio

Sgt. Jeremy Cain Sherman, 23, from Watseka, Illinois

A helicopter belonging to an international peacekeeping force crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Thursday, killing at least eight people, including several Americans, an Israeli and Egyptian official said. Both sides said the crash appeared to be an accident.

The helicopter belonged to the Multinational Force and Observers, an international force that monitors the 40-year-old peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.

Those killed were five Americans, a French national and a Czech national, all military, MFO said in a statement.

Israeli and Egyptian officials said a survivor was airlifted to an Israeli hospital. The Associated Press reported that the survivor was an American member of the MFO. The peacekeeping force transported the survivor to the resort town of Eilat, Israel, from where he was then taken by an Israeli helicopter to a hospital further north. The survivor later died.

An Egyptian official said the UH-60 Black Hawk was on a reconnaissance mission and crashed near the island of Tiran.

A Black Hawk UH-60 helicopter flies overhead while participating in military exercises Saber Junction 20 at the Hohenfels training grounds on August 10, 2020 near Hohenfels, Germany. This is the type of helicopter involved in the crash in Egypt that killed six Americans. Photo by Lennart Preiss / Getty Images

Both sides said the crash appeared to be caused by a technical failure and there was no sign of an attack on the plane. Islamic militant groups affiliated with the Islamic State group are known to be active in Sinai.

The MFO statement did not give more details about the accident but called Thursday’s mission “routine”.

The IDF said in a statement that it had offered to send a rescue team to the crash site.

President-elect Joe Biden made a statement on Twitter of the six Americans killed.

“I offer my sincere condolences to the relatives of the peacekeepers, including 6 US servicemen, who died on Tiran Island, and I wish the surviving American a speedy recovery,” Biden said in a tweet. “I join with all Americans in honoring their sacrifice, as I keep their loved ones in my prayers.”

President Donald Trump had yet to issue a statement Thursday afternoon.

In recent years, Washington has weighed in to what extent the United States should participate in the MFO, especially as military coordination between Israel and Egypt has tightened to help repel an Islamist-led insurgency in the United States. Sinai.

According to its website, the MFO has 1,154 military personnel from the United States and 12 other countries covering an area of ​​more than 3,860 square miles in Sinai. Some 452 staff are American. His responsibilities include monitoring troop levels along the border and ensuring freedom of navigation in the Straits of Tiran.

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