22 Jun 2010

Three Australians, one American die in Afghanistan

6:22 am on 22 June 2010

Four soldiers, three Australian and one American, have died in a helicopter crash in the north Kandahar region of Afghanistan on Monday.

Seven Australian soldiers were hurt, two seriously. One is undergoing surgery and another is in intensive care.

The soldiers were members of Australia's Special Operations Task Group.

The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, confirmed that the incident was not a result of enemy action.

The helicopter was carrying 15 people when it crashed in rugged terrain in the northern area of Kandahar. Other coalition helicopters landed immediately and evacuated the injured.

The dead soldiers were members of the 2nd Commando Regiment and had done three tours of Afghanistan.

The deaths bring to 16 the number of Australians who have died during operations in Afghanistan since 2001.

The New Zealand Government has extended its sympathy to the Australian Defence Force.

New Zealand's Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says the deaths reminds people of the dangers service personnel face, whether on duty abroad or at home.