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American Forces Press Service

Three Missing Following Accidents, One Dead After Combat

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2004 - One accident appears to have spawned another and three American soldiers are missing near Mosul.

Four U.S. soldiers were conducting a patrol on the Tigris River Jan. 25 when their patrol boat rolled over. Three soldiers escaped and a fourth was missing.

News reports said two Iraqi policemen and an Iraqi translator died in the incident.

U.S. and Iraqi personnel began searching the river for the missing American. Two Kiowa OH-58 helicopters responded and joined the search. One crashed into the river, and its pilots are missing.

All are soldiers under the operational control of the 101st Airborne Division.

Pentagon officials said there was no indication that any enemy activity was involved in either incident.

Search efforts are still underway for the three soldiers.

A 4th Infantry Division soldier on a combat patrol in Bayji, Iraq, was wounded and later died Jan. 24.

The soldier was riding in a Bradley fighting vehicle when a rocket-propelled grenade struck it.

Soldiers in another Bradley returned fire and suppressed further attacks. The patrol captured six men. News reports indicate the men were carrying weapons and may have been part of the group attempting to ambush the American patrol. They are being held for questioning.

The loss of the Kiowa was the fifth this month, DoD officials said. Enemy fire allegedly brought down three of the choppers, while accidents allegedly caused the other two to crash. Officials said the military continues to evaluate all aspects of the mishaps and will make changes to the training, tactics and procedures as needed.

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