Witnesses Recount Helicopter Tragedy
Chinook burst into flames, crashed in pieces
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2011 11:45 AM CDT
Wreckage of a Chinook helicopter shot down last week is seen at the site of crash at Tangi Valley in Wardak province , Aug. 11, 2011.   (AP Photo/ Mohammad Nasir)
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(Newser) – As soon as the Chinook helicopter carrying 30 American troops and eight Afghans was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired from a hillside, it burst into flames, a witness tells the AP. "After it started burning, it crashed. It came down in three pieces. We could see it burning from our homes." The victims' bodies were mangled and burned, he continues. Another witness says burning wreckage was scattered on both sides of the Tangi river.

Coalition forces removed the remains and wreckage over several days, but the AP notes that small chopper pieces still litter the field. Other recent violence has seen five NATO troops and another service member killed in two roadside bombings and five Afghan policemen killed by Taliban insurgents. So far this year, 374 members of international forces have been killed.