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1 Dead in Singapore Helicopter Crash

July 16, 2002

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SINGAPORE (AP) _ Two U.S. Marine helicopters collided at an airstrip here Tuesday, killing a Singaporean technician on the tarmac, the U.S. Navy said.

No casualties were reported aboard the two CH-53 Marine Corps helicopters, a Navy statement said.

The choppers’ main rotors struck each other as the helicopters taxied to park at Singapore’s Paya Lebar Air Base early in the afternoon, the release said.

Debris from the collision struck the Singaporean ground crewman, who was taken to a hospital where he died.

``We are all saddened that a routine landing had these tragic consequences,″ U.S. ambassador to Singapore, Frank Lavin, said in a statement. ``I offer my profound condolences to the family.″

The names of the pilots and the technician were not immediately released.

The technician, who worked for Singapore Technologies, died at 4:50 p.m., according to a statement released by Singapore’s defense ministry. The ministry is investigating the incident, it said.

Singapore Technologies is a subcontractor at many military installations here, operating communications and technology systems.

U.S. military forces frequently use this island nation’s airfields and naval facilities for training exercises and for resupply.

The Sea Stallion heavy lift choppers involved in the accident were on a transport mission from Paya Lebar to the USS Belleau Wood, a 40,000-ton helicopter carrier attached to the Seventh Fleet, the statement said.

The CH-53s are part of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit based in California.

The aircraft carry a crew of three and are primarily used for transporting heavy equipment and cargo.

Update hourly