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U.S. Relief Copter Crashes in Indonesia

Associated Press
Monday, January 10, 2005; Page A09

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, Jan. 10 -- A U.S. helicopter on a relief operation crashed in a rice paddy near Banda Aceh's airport Monday, injuring at least two of the 10 Navy personnel aboard and causing the military to briefly suspend flights, while strong aftershocks and security concerns provided more challenges for aid workers two weeks after the disaster hit.

The SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter crashed about 500 yards from the airport in Banda Aceh, a key hub for relief operations in Aceh province, where more than 100,000 were killed and 600,000 left homeless in the Dec. 26 earthquake and ensuing tsunami. The U.S. military suspended helicopter flights for about two hours.

U.S. Navy helicopter flights have been a backbone of relief efforts in areas cut off from road access in the province.

The crash came a day after Indonesia warned aid workers that separatist rebels had taken shelter in camps for survivors and aftershocks continued to rattle residents.

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