Vietnam crash kills 16, Pentagon says
Victims include U.S. MIA search team
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A helicopter crash in Vietnam killed 16 people Saturday, including seven American servicemen and nine Vietnamese searching for sites containing the remains of U.S. troops missing in action, U.S. Pacific Command told CNN.
The U.S. team was part of a group making site surveys for possible excavations for American remains in central Vietnam, the Pentagon said. They were members of Full Accounting, a joint task force on a mission to find U.S. servicemen and women missing in action from the Vietnam War.
Pentagon officials said the team of experts, who go to sites or areas where war casualties likely occurred, flew in locally chartered helicopters. The Americans were stationed in Hawaii.
The names of the victims were withheld pending notification of next of kin.
A Vietnamese military official told Reuters the helicopter crashed into a mountainside in heavy fog in the Quang Binh province, Thanh Tranh commune of Bo Trach district, about 700 meters from Vietnam's main north-south road artery, Highway One.
Nearly 2,000 U.S. servicemen are still listed as missing in action from the conflict in southeast Asia, most of them in Vietnam. Another 591 have been identified since U.S. forces stopped fighting in 1973.
Most U.S. personnel lost in the northern part of Vietnam were aircrew members on bombing missions during the conflict.
Correspondent Eileen O'Connor contributed to this report.
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