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7 Marines hurt in Thailand helo mishap

Feb. 20, 2013 - 08:50AM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 20, 2013 - 08:50AM  |  
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Seven Marines were injured Wednesday afternoon when a CH-46E helicopter made a hard landing during a training exercise in Thailand, Marine officials said.

The incident happened in Phitsanulok in northern Thailand, where thousands of U.S. and foreign military personnel are gathered for an annual exercise called Cobra Gold, said Capt. Gregory Wolf, a Marine Corps spokesman at the Pentagon. None of the injured has been identified, and it's not immediately clear how badly they were hurt, he said.

The incident occurred around noon local time, according to a news release from Marine Corps officials in Thailand. Five of the seven injured are being treated at local medical facilities, it says.

It's unclear how many people were on board the helicopter when it encountered trouble or if it was carrying any foreign troops, Wolf said.

The aircraft is assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which is based in Okinawa, Japan. The squadron is attached to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Phitsanulok is located about 250 miles north of Bangkok, not far from Thailand's border with Myanmar. The incident is under investigation, officials said.

Approximately 13,000 troops from the U.S., Thailand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia are participating in Cobra Gold, which is scheduled to conclude Thursday. The helicopter mishap is unlikely to disrupt the rest of the exercise, Wolf said.

Twin-rotor CH-46 helicopters, among the Marine Corps' oldest, are used for transporting personnel and equipment. The service is replacing them with its new MV-22 Osprey.

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