Chopper goes down in Red SeaCrash kills eight [Archives:2003/624/Front Page]

February 24 2003

A Yemeni military helicopter with 12 troops crashed in the Red Sea on Saturday killing eight soldiers and officers, a Yemeni defense official said.
The official, quoted by the state-run SABA news agency, said the crash was due to a technical fault. The remaining four soldiers survived the crash which occurred off the Red Sea island of Hanish, some 50 km (30 miles) off the Yemeni mainland.
The Defense Ministry is investigating what caused the fault, SABA added.
Defense Ministry sources told Reuters the helicopter had been on a routine patrol mission over Hanish, which was handed back to Yemen by Eritrea in 1998 after a sovereignty dispute. A token Yemeni force is located nearby..
Yemen and Eritrea had been at odds over the sovereignty of the Greater Hanish Island for many years until the dispute was settled by an 1999 ruling from the International Court of Justice, which gave the Island to Yemen.
This is the second incident of its kind in the last three years.
On August 14, 2000, another military helicopter while in a flight to Al-Abr from Hadhramout in an inspection mission crashed killing 17 military personnel.
The cause of the crash was identified then as a technical error and due to overload.
Among those who were killed in that crash was Staff Brigadier Mohammad Ahmad Ismail, former Commander of the Military Eastern Region, who played a major role in bringing the 1994 civil war to an end.
While bodies of the dead were kept at al Alfy Hospital morgue in Hodeidha, the injured are being hospitalized at the military hospital in the city.
A security source told the Yemen Times that the helicopter was carrying food supplies to soldiers stationed on the island.