Five US service members killed in Mediterranean plane crash

AFP , Sunday 12 Nov 2023

Five American service members were killed when a military aircraft crashed into the Mediterranean during a training exercise, the US European Command (EUCOM) said Sunday.

From top left: Capt. Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, 34, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan Sameh Ghabour, 27, Staff Sgt. Kyle Robert McKee, 35, and Sgt. Jeremy Cain Sherman, 23. All five U.S. soldiers were among the seven killed when their helicopter crashed in the Sinai.


EUCOM did not specify the type of plane or where it was flying from, but the United States has deployed a carrier strike group to the area as part of efforts to prevent the Israeli war from on Gaza spiraling into a regional conflict.

"During a routine air refueling mission as part of military training, a US military aircraft carrying five service members suffered a mishap and crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. All five of the service members onboard the aircraft were killed," EUCOM said in a statement on the November 10 accident.

Washington rushed military support to Israel and bolstered its forces in the region -- including with the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier and other warships -- after the Hamas militant group carried out a shock cross-border attack from Gaza on October 7 that Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people.

Israel's military responded with a relentless air, land and naval assault on Gaza that the territory's health ministry said has left more than 11,000 people dead, two third of them are children and women.

US forces in the region have faced a spike in attacks linked to the conflict in recent weeks and have been targeted more than 40 times since mid-October, leaving dozens of American personnel with minor injuries.

Washington has blamed Tehran-backed militias for the violence and has carried out three strikes against Iran-linked sites in Syria -- two on October 26 and one on Wednesday.

There have been multiple other crashes of US military aircraft in recent years, including an F-35 stealth warplane that went down in September, with the pilot able to eject.

In March, two US Army helicopters crashed during a nighttime training mission in Kentucky, killing all nine soldiers on board.

Four US Marines were killed during NATO exercises in Norway last year when their V-22B Osprey aircraft went down.

In 2021, two US Navy pilots ejected from their T-45C Goshawk jet shortly before it crashed during a training exercise near Fort Worth, Texas.

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