U.N. Helicopter Crashes In Sierra Leone, Killing 24
Wednesday, June 30, 2004; Page A18
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, June 29 -- A U. N. helicopter crashed in flames on a remote hillside in Sierra Leone on Tuesday, killing all 24 peacekeepers, aid workers and others on board.
U.N. mission spokeswoman Sharon McPherson said victims aboard the Russian-made Mi-8 also included the Russian crew.
According to a manifest, the passengers included 14 Pakistani peacekeepers and a Pakistani police officer, and travelers from several African countries. Others on the manifest were a U.N. volunteer from Ghana, three Sierra Leonean citizens, a Tanzanian working for the International Committee of the Red Cross and one Ugandan.
Authorities offered no immediate explanation for the accident.
The United Nations has about 11,800 peacekeepers in Sierra Leone, overseeing the West African country's peace accord after a 10-year civil war that ended in 2002.
The helicopter had taken off from Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, with 21 passengers and three crew, said Daniel Adekera, another U.N. spokesman. Its destination was the western city of Kailahun, after a stop in Yengema , near some of the main diamond fields in mineral-rich Sierra Leone.
The crash site was just southeast of Yengema, officials said.
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