Five American special operations troops were killed when their helicopter crashed into the Mediterranean Sea during a training mission, United States officials have confirmed.
US European Command said search and rescue operations were launched immediately following Friday’s crash, and an investigation into its cause is under way. The troops aboard the helicopter were US Army special operations personnel, according to two officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The US has deployed two aircraft carriers – the Ford and the Eisenhower – along with supporting ships and dozens of aircraft to the eastern Mediterranean since Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, aiming to act as a deterrent to ensure the conflict does not expand.
“We can definitively say that the aircraft sortie was purely related to training and there are no indications of hostile activity,” the European Command said on Saturday. It did not identify the helicopter involved.
Identities of the victims will not be released until next of kin notifications are completed, the command said.
President Joe Biden expressed condolences in a statement on Sunday.