12 Saudi soldiers killed in Yemen helicopter crash

April 18 (UPI) — Twelve soldiers from Saudi Arabia died in a military helicopter crash Tuesday in eastern Yemen, the Arab coalition fighting Yemeni rebels said.

A Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter of the Saudi Armed Force crashed in the morning while on a mission in Marib.

“The crash resulted in the martyrdom of four officers and eight rank officers of the Saudi armed forces,” the coalition said in a statement submitted to the Saudi Press Agency. “The investigations are ongoing to determine the causes of the accident.”

More 3,000 Black Hawk aircraft are in service worldwide, including 2,300 with the U.S. Army, according to manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Named after the Native American war leader Black Hawk, the multipurpose copter debuted in 1979.

One person was killed Monday when a U.S. military Black Hawk crashed in Maryland.

For two years, the coalition has been backing the government against Houthi rebels and their allies.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, on Tuesday to discuss Yemen with Saudi leaders.

Last month, the Houthis claimed to have shot down a Saudi Apache helicopter over the Red Sea port of Hudaydah, which they control.

A police helicopter with a dozen people on board also crashed Tuesday in Turkey’s eastern Tunceli.

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