Colombian military helicopter targeting ELN rebels crashes; 17 dead

BOGOTA, June 27 (UPI) — A missing Mi-17 Colombian military helicopter that crashed on Sunday carrying 17 personnel was found on Monday. There were no survivors.

The crash occurred in Colombia’s state of Chocó. Aboard the helicopter were five crew members and 12 soldiers who were conducting support operations against the National Liberation Army, or ELN, rebel group.

The Colombian military on Sunday said the team carried out an operation that killed three ELN members and rescued a hostage who was taken by the ELN over two weeks ago.

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“They informed me that they have located the crash site. Our men are getting closer to where the helicopter is located and the forecast is not good. I want to deeply regret what happened,” Santos said earlier on Monday, adding that an investigation has been launched as to why the crash occurred.

The helicopter was traveling from Quibdó in the Chocó state toward Tolemaida in the Tolima state. Nearby residents reported hearing an explosion soon after a helicopter passed.

Jesús Ospina, mayor of the town of Pensilvania in the Caldas state, said nearby farmers saw the helicopter crash in rugged mountains.



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