Was Crashed Copter's Rescue Mission Necessary?

Investigators probing that question
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2011 7:08 AM CDT
US soldiers secure the area after exiting a Chinook helicopter, Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, in this June 18, 2006 file photo.   (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

(Newser) – A heartbreaking twist in the helicopter tragedy that claimed 38 US and Afghan lives: The rescue mission the troops were en route to may not even have been necessary. Special Operations forces in the remote Tangi Valley requested assistance after coming under fire from "several" insurgents, even though they were able to kill some of those insurgents, the Washington Post reports.

The responding helicopter was felled by what military officials are calling a "lucky shot" as it prepared to land, while the troops already on the ground did not suffer casualties—and even fended off the insurgents and secured the site on their own, until another helicopter arrived. Investigators are now probing whether the doomed rescue mission was really needed.

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