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A Saudi prince has been killed in a helicopter crash near the kingdom’s southern border with Yemen. Prince Mansour bin Muqrin, the son of the former crown prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz and deputy governor of Saudi Arabia’s Asir province, was travelling with several officials when the aircraft crashed.

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Rijal Almaa heritage village, Asir province, Rijal Alma, Saudi Arabia - Mansour bin Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (1974 – November 5, 2017) (Arabic) منصور بن مقرن بن عبد العزيز آل سعود‎) was a Saudi businessman, member of the House of Saud, and Advisor at the court of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. In April 2015, he was appointed Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques with the rank of minister. He was the sone of Prince Muqrin al-Saud, former Crown prince of Saudi Arabia. He was killed in mysterious circumstances when his helicopter crashed on November 5, 2017, hours after a major purge of the kingdom's political and business leadership. Prince Mansour, who was in his early 40s, was taking part in a tour of local projects near Abha, some 160 kilometres from the border with Yemen, all eight people on board perished. 

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Death comes amid royal family power play
Prince Mansour was the son of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence service director and one-time crown prince. Prince Muqrin was removed as crown prince in April 2015 by his half brother King Salman in favour of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a counter-terrorism tsar and Interior Minister. But in June, King Salman also ousted Prince Mohammed in favour of the king's 32-year-old son, the now-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as first in line to the throne. All these moves have cemented the young crown prince's position in power.

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Incarcerated for almost two months in a gilded cage in Riyadh’s luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel, Saudi billionaire businessman Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal appears to be putting up a fight that could challenge Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s assertion that his two month-old purge of scores of members of the ruling family, senior officials, and businessmen constitutes a campaign against corruption. Earlier today November 5th 2017 Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal was arrested, along with ten senior princes, and some 38 ministers, on orders from the new anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

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Image Above - Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman - Prince Turki al-Faisal told The Associated Press the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last month is “an unacceptable incident that tars and mars the long record of Saudi Arabia’s own standing in the world.” Less than 24 hours after the issuance of the arrests of at least 40 high-ranking officials a helicopter carrying another Saudi Prince, deputy governor of Saudi Arabia’s southern Asir province Mansour bin Muqrin, crashed in Yemen with 7 other high-ranking officials, A search of the crash site is underway, SaudiNews50 reported, posting a video of the ongoing recovery efforts. It is unknown what caused the horrific crash. According to Al Arabiya, among the officials ousted or arrested are Moteib Bin Abdullah, Minister of the National Guard. Prince Khalid bin Ayyaf has been appointed as his replacement. Even heads of the three main Saudi Arabian media were arrested –  “Alwalid Bin Talal (Rotana), Walid Al Brahim (MBC), Saleh Kamel (ART),” Others arrested include Walid bin Talal; Khaled Tuweijri; AlWalid Ibrahim; Turki Bin Naser; and more. A second Royal Order was issued to discharge the Minister of Economy and Planning, Adel al-Faqieh, from his duties and appoint Mohammed Al Tuwaijri as Minister of Economy and Planning to replace him.

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The Saudi government hopes to recover up to $100 billion allegedly illegitimately acquired funds and assets. Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, a favored son of the late King Abdullah who was deposed as commander of the National Guard in a bid to neutralize the Saudi crown prince’s most potent rival, secured his release by agreeing to pay $1 billion  and signing a document in which he confessed to charges of corruption.  Prince Al-Waleed has resisted pressure by the government to hand over $6 billion. Instead, the prince has reportedly offered the government a significant stake in his Riyadh-listed Kingdom Holding that has invested in blue chips such as Citibank, Twitter, Four Seasons hotels, and Disney, and operates a media and entertainment empire. Kingdom Holding has lost 14 percent of its $8.7 billion market value since Prince Al-Waleed’s detention. The prince has also insisted that he retain a leadership position in his conglomerate.

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As part of his ongoing US tour, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met at his residence in Los Angeles with Robert Allen Iger,  chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company.  Prince Mohammed bin Salman in recent years has spent $500 million on a  yacht, a $300 million mansion in France, and a $450 million Leonardo da Vinci painting. The government this week paid $533 million into a newly established social welfare fund to help families offset the cost of the imminent introduction of a five-percent value-added tax on goods including food, and services, as well as subsidy cuts that would substantially raise the price of electricity and gasoline. The government was forced earlier this year to reverse a freeze on public sector wage increases and perks and slowdown its austerity program because of anger and frustration expressed on social media. Labor and Social Development Minister Ali al-Ghafees told the state-run Saudi Press Agency that approximately three million families or 10.6 million beneficiaries had already been paid the maximum relief of 938 Saudi riyals ($250) out of the newly created fund. The government, moreover, this month announced a $19 billion stimulus package that includes subsidised loans for house buyers and developers, fee waivers for small businesses and financial support for distressed companies. It also presented its new budget  involving record spending in which funding of defense outstrips that of education in a country with a 12.7% unemployment rate, A Bank of America Merrill Lynch report predicted last year that youth unemployment could jump from 33.5 to 42 percent by 2030.

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Prince Mohammed is banking on continued public support for his economic and social reforms, and on the fact that once the dust has settled foreign investors will forget whatever misgivings they may have had about the lack of due process and absence of rule law in the anti-corruption crackdown. Foreign diplomats in the kingdom noted that the businesses of those detained or penalized continued to operate and that no foreign interests were caught up in the purge. However, to maintain his popularity, Prince Mohammed will have to manage expectations, deliver jobs, continue to massage the pain of austerity and the introduction of a new social contract, and ensure that the public continues to perceive his purge as an anti-corruption campaign in which the high and mighty are no longer above the law. A legal battle with Prince Al-Waleed that publicly puts to the test the government’s assertions could upset the apple cart. That may be the leverage Prince Al-Waleed hopes will work in his favour as he negotiates his settlement from the confines of the Ritz Carlton.

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Château Louis XIV in Louveciennes, in France, was purchased in 2015 by the Prince and is rated as the worlds most expensive home with a $300 million price tag.

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3 killed in medical helicopter crash in southeast Ohio identified -  The flight crew has been identified from left to right as, 34-year-old Jennifer L. Topper, 48-year-old Bradley J. Haynes and 33-year-old Rachel L. Cunningham. Topper was the pilot and Haynes and Cunningham were flight nurses.

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The pilot of a medical transport helicopter that crashed in southeast Ohio on Tuesday, killing all three crew members on board, was 2002 Piner High School graduate Jennifer Topper, seen at far right, her mother confirmed Wednesday. (Facebook) - Jennifer Topper found her first passion fresh out of Piner High School in 2002, when she joined the U.S. Navy and worked her way into a specialty job as a rescue swimmer, flying over the ocean in a military chopper and dropping into the water on a long line for search and rescue operations. She was one of few women in the role, and she told her cousin it just made her work harder. But she loved it, and it sparked her desire to become a helicopter pilot, the passion she would pursue next, said Topper’s mother, Cherie Rader, of Santa Rosa. On Tuesday, January 29th 2019 the freedom and thrill that came with flying turned to tragedy when a medical transport aircraft piloted by the former Santa Rosa woman crashed over southeast Ohio, killing all three crew members on board.

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“I was so proud of my daughter,” Rader said from the Sonoma County airport on Wednesday where she prepared to board a flight to Ohio with two relatives.
“She was an awesome pilot,” Rader said. “Heart attack victims. Gunshot victims. She saved many a life up there in Ohio.” Topper, 34, was flying a Bell 407 helicopter with two flight nurses on board in frigid, snowy conditions en route from suburban Columbus to a small town about 100 miles away, where they were going to pick up a patient when the aircraft went down about three-quarters of the way to their destination, authorities said. The other two victims have been identified as flight nurses Bradley J. Haynes, 48, of London, Ohio, and Rachel L. Cunningham, 33, of Galloway. The cause of the crash was unknown Wednesday and remains under investigation.

 Pilot Jennifer Topper,

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In this photo provided by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, authorities survey the scene of wreckage where a medical helicopter crashed in a remote wooded area in Brown Township, Ohio, on its way to pick up a patient, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. (Ohio State Highway Patrol via AP) - Authorities said Survival Flight Inc., which employed Topper and operated the medical transport helicopter in partnership with Mount Carmel Health System, notified the Ohio State Highway Patrol around 7:20 a.m. Tuesday that it had lost contact with the aircraft, authorities said. State troopers’ special response team and aviation unit began searching for the wreckage and finally located it around 10:16 a.m., reportedly pinging one of the crew members’ cellphones. A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, Peter Knudson, said Wednesday the debris from the crash was “highly fragmented” and scattered over about a quarter-mile of thick woods and rugged landscape but that there had been no post-crash fire, so the aircraft wreckage was at least preserved.

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Spectrum Aeromed, September 20, 2016 - Spectrum Aeromed announced this week that the company’s articulating stretcher and medical interior was installed in four Bell 407 helicopters for Arkansas based, Survival Flight with two more planned.
“The articulating stretcher provides improved safety for both our patients and our employees,” said Survival Flight CEO Chris Millard. “The design is rugged and the ability for the Spectrum Aeromed system to pivot into place to align with the stretcher allows our team to more easily secure patients.”
Spectrum Aeromed Vice President and Account Executive Ricky Reno worked with Survival Flight to customize the order. The system from Spectrum Aeromed was designed uniquely with Survival Flight colors, to continue the easily recognizable paint scheme.
“Survival Flight has an expanding diverse fleet of aircraft and we are honored to know that our system is helping them save lives throughout Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma,” said Reno. “Our team was able to customize the system to meet their needs from the largest piece of equipment even to smallest. We even had special seatbelts with their colors built.”
Survival Flight operates nine Bell Helicopters and one Pilatus PC-12 giving them great versatility to aid with not only Helicopter Air Ambulance emergencies, but also patient transports. The company offers annual memberships and continues to expand its operations. CEO Chris Millard will be attending the annual Air Medical Transport Conference in Charlotte.
Spectrum Aeromed will display at the Air Medical Transport Conference annual convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in booth 301 from September 26-28.

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A similar type of medical helicopter - Dreamfoil Bell 407 REACH Air Medical Livery - Helicopters - Rotorcraft - -He also said investigators had retrieved electronic instrumentation and equipment from the crash site that would contain usable memory that could facilitate the inquiry. Investigators were working with the insurance companies on recovery of the aircraft wreckage, Knudson said. “The challenge is the weather right now is really crazy cold and windy,” he said. “That’s really an X factor that could affect the recovery time.” The investigation was expected to take 12 to 24 months, in any case, though a preliminary report likely would be out in a few weeks, Knudson said. Rader said she looked forward one day to having more answers, but knew at least that her daughter died “trying to save somebody’s life.” “I loved her,” Rader said. “She was my rock. She was my best friend.”

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She said Topper had moved to Ohio about 1½ years ago with her boyfriend, Heath Beecher, also a helicopter pilot, after they met in the Grand Canyon where both flew tours. They initially worked for Survival Flight in Oklahoma and then found jobs flying for Mount Carmel Health. They lived in Sunbury, a suburb north of Columbus, had a new puppy and were saving to buy a house, said Topper’s cousin, Jenna Brown. “She had finally met the man of her dreams,” Brown said. “She was the absolute happiest I’ve ever seen her.” Topper grew up in Santa Rosa, one of two siblings raised by her mother and late father, Daniel Topper. She attended Santa Rosa schools and was outgoing and adventurous, said her cousin, who described Topper as more sister than cousin. Brown said Topper was a strong and “solid” woman who brought life into any room. “It was rare you didn’t catch Jen with a smile,” she said.

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“She was an absolute go-getter, and if you told her she couldn’t do it, she would make sure she would go do it, and that was from jobs to any adventure,” Brown said. “There was nothing that could stop her, to be honest.” Topper was on the swim team in school and was competitive in equestrian events, and was very physical and active, but then could get all dressed up and be dazzling. When she decided to join the Navy in the aftermath of the 2001 terror attacks, she was still just 17, but she talked to a recruiter on her own and took the papers to her mother, Rader said. “She was just wise beyond her years,” she said. ”We’re just devastated.” Topper spent about 1½ years in the Navy, but had to cut her service short because of a profound tragedy that struck at home.

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In 2004, Topper’s older brother, Christopher, then 23, was suffering from mental health issues that included paranoia and delusions, when he fatally shot his stepfather, a retired sheriff’s deputy named Howard Rader, 61, and his aunt, Carolyn Day, 43. He also gravely wounded his mother, whom he shot six times before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life. Topper, then 19, returned to Santa Rosa and made it her business to make sure her mother came through the ordeal, putting her own plans on hold for the time being, Brown said. “She was the one that got her mom through that,” Brown said. “She was there every step of the way through that. She was just solid.” Several years later, she earned her private pilot’s license and later her commercial license, training in Visalia and then Bend, Oregon, where she also worked as a flight instructor. When she was ready, she took the job on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and began the next part of her journey with her boyfriend. “She was living her dream,” Rader said.

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Event on 11/10/04 in Windsor. Copy photo of Howard and Cherie Radar provided by Cherie Rader. Photo taken at the Las Vegas Harley Davidson dealership, where they were married August 18, 2003. Cherie Rader was shot and badly injured in her Windsor home. Her husband, Howard Rader, a retired sheriff's deputy, and her sister, Carolyn Day, were killed. The assailant was her own son, Chris Topper, who then turned the gun on himself. The rampage took place in Sonoma County. Since then, Cherie Rader has undergone multiple surgeries, endured physical therapy and psychological counseling. She doesn't blame her son. She blames a system that she says failed him. As she started to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, she began to study the mental illness that plagued her son. Photo courtesy Cherie Rader MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOG AND SF CHRONICLE/ -MAGS OUT

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Image Above - Carolyn Day who was the sister of Cherie Rader was fatally shot.

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Cherie Rader becomes emotional when she recalls the day she was shot and badly injured in her Windsor home. 

Image Above - Copy photo of Chris Topper, his mother Cherie Rader and his sister Jennifer Topper provided by Cherie Rader. Photo taken December 1998.

 

"This tragedy impacted me and my family so greatly that I wanted to do something to change the system," Rader said, sitting in her home where the shooting occurred. Her daughter Jennifer Topper, 19, sat by her side. Throughout the conversation, Topper periodically clasped her mother's hand to offer support.

Rader said simply, "My son was mentally ill. He never got the treatment he needed." 

The Topper case provides a glimpse into the challenges faced by jail and health systems. An estimated one in six inmates suffers from mental illness, a national figure that spotlights the need for public health services in jails.

Rader believes the killings could have been averted, if the mental health and penal systems had properly diagnosed and treated her son.Rader said she called hot lines seeking answers and went to see her son every day while he was in jail. He was led into visiting rooms in full body chains, around his ankles, wrists and waist. She said he was isolated in his cell 23 hours a day -- a situation she believes worsened his condition.What could have helped him, Rader believes, is Laura's Law, a state statute that gives counties the power to force the most mentally ill into outpatient treatment programs. The California law is named after Laura Wilcox a high school valedictorian who was killed in 2001 by a mentally ill man. Like most counties across the state, Sonoma County has not implemented the law, because it comes with a long list of conditions and no money.

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Image Below - The cast of MTV's The Challenge: Battle of the Bloodlines (Photo by Ian Spanier/MTV)

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AT LEAST TWO people were killed when a helicopter being used by a film crew with the US television channel MTV crashed into a reservoir in western Argentina, officials said today (Dec 13th 2015) The security minister for Mendoza province, Gianni Venier, said the helicopter crashed about 30 kilometres from the city of Mendoza, the provincial capital — some 620 kilometres west of Buenos Aires. Wreckage from the aircraft has been found, and a pilot and a technician aboard the helicopter were reported killed when the craft plunged into the reservoir at Potrerillos de Mendoza dam.

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Image Above - Potrerillos Valley - The helicopter was being used for a reality show for the channel. MTV issued a statement saying the helicopter was working on “The Challenge,” a co-production of MTV and Bunim-Murray Productions, and was flying to a shooting location when it went down. MTV said only two people were on the helicopter and neither was a cast or show crew member. Rescuers trying to reach the downed helicopter said it had plunged some 60 metres underwater. The crash is the second this year involving a helicopter taking part in filming in Argentina. In March, 10 people, eight French nationals and two Argentines, were killed during the filming of a show for reality TV in France. The dead included three well-known French athletes — pioneering sailor Florence Arthaud and Olympian swimmer Camille Muffat and boxer Alexis Vastine.

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The Challenge (originally known as Road Rules: All Stars, followed by Real World/Road Rules Challenge) is a reality game show on MTV that is spun off from the network's two reality shows, Real World and Road Rules. It features alumni from these two shows, in addition to rookies and alumni from The Challenge, and alumni from Are You The One?, Big Brother (US), Ex on the Beach (Brazil), UK and US), Geordie Shore and numerous other shows, competing against one another for a cash prize.  Alumni means  - a former member of a group, company, or organization.

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Image Above - Geordie Shore cast members. MTV International has commissioned a reunion spin-off series of hit reality show Geordie Shore.  Geordie Shore is a British reality television series broadcast on MTV and based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It was first broadcast on 24 May 2011, and is the British version of the American show Jersey Shore. The show follows the daily lives of 8-12 housemates, depending on the series, as they live together for a number of weeks. In the first series, the house was located in Jesmond, a suburb of Newcastle. Since the second series, the show has used a house in the Ocean Business Park in Wallsend. At this point in time there are 19 series available to watch starting with series 1 which was produced in 2011.

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The Challenge is currently hosted by T.J. Lavin. The series premiered on June 1st, 1998. The  series initially used no hosts but instead a former cast member who had been kicked off his or her season, providing assignments as "Mr." or "Ms. Big" (David "Puck" Rainey, David Edwards, and Glady's Sanabria served this role). After one season without anyone in this role, later on, however, the series began using hosts: Eric Nies and Mark Long co-hosted a season, and Johnny Moseley and Dave Mirra hosted various seasons before T. J. Lavin became the show's regular host by the 11th season.

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THE ‘INVASION’ FINALS HAD COUNTLESS TWISTS AND TURNS THROUGH THREE EXCRUCIATING DAYS competing on series 29. Since the 4th season, each season has supplied the show with a unique subtitle, such as Rivals, Each season consists of a format and theme whereby the subtitle is derived. The show's most recent season, War of the Worlds, premiered on February 6th, 2019.

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It seems like just yesterday that Kyle and Paulie were fighting over the same woman and Hunter was getting frustrated with himself during competitions. Maybe those have both been running themes this season, but it doesn't make it any easier to believe that the end is coming soon. It’s getting down to the wire and when The Challenge: War of the Worlds finale airs,  only one player will be awarded the $750,000 prize. And it’s not going to matter how many times Hunter threatened to leave the game or how much trash was talked between Kyle, Paulie, and Cara Maria. Season 33 is likely 16 episodes long, including the finale special, so that means there are only a handful of episodes left to narrow down the players and give viewers this season’s finalists.

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U.S. Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallion - Thirty-one US marines were killed today Wednesday 26th January 2005, when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed in the desert in western Iraq, causing the largest loss of life among US forces in a single incident since the beginning of the Iraq war. The helicopter went down near Rutba, about 220 miles west of Baghdad, while conducting security operations, the military said in a statement. A Pentagon source said the helicopter was a CH-53 Sea Stallion, which normally carries 37 passengers, but can take up to 55. It was not immediately known how many people were on board, nor whether it was shot down or crashed in an accident. The aircraft was transporting personnel from the 1st Marine Division. A search and rescue team has reached the site and an investigation into what caused the crash is underway.

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The CH-53 Sea Stallion is the most common name for the Sikorsky s-65 family of heavy-lift transport helicopters, Originally developed for use by the United States Marine Corps, it is in service with Germany, Iran, Israel, and Mexico. The United States Air Force operated the HH-53 "Super Jolly Green Giant" during the late– and post–Vietnam-War era, updating most of them as the MH-53 Pave Low. The dimensionally-similar CH-53E Super Stallion is a heavier-lifting, improved version designated S-80E by Sikorsky. Its third engine makes it more powerful than the Sea Stallion, which it has replaced in the heavy-lift mission.

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Marines with the 31st MEU fast rope from a CH-53, similar to training conducted at Camp Lejeune before Wednesday’s hard landing. US Marine Corps Photo - Staff Sgt. Jonathan Lewis, 31, assigned to Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) Company B Marine Corps Security Force Regiment at Camp Allen in Yorktown, Va., died “while conducting Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques (HRST) training in a landing zone at Stone Bay,” according to a Friday statement from II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF). 

The HRST training teaches Marines to fast rope and rappel from everyone of the services helicopter. Lewis was inside the Super Stallion during the hard landing.
“[HRST] requires the highest caliber Marine, with the dedication and courage

to take on the challenge as Staff Sgt. Lewis did,” said Col. Jeffrey Kenney, officer in charge of the Expeditionary Operations Training Group during a press conference at Camp Lejeune.

The Marines are now conducting an investigation into the Super Stallion’s hard landing.

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Marines board a CH-53E Super Stallion on the USS Essex at sea in 2015.

Source: Courtesy U.S. Marine Corps - The US president, George Bush, expressed his sorrow at the news at the first White House press conference of his new term. "Obviously, any time we lose life, it is a sad moment," he said. Asked about the cause of the crash, Mr Bush said, "I've heard rumours, but let's wait for the facts". The US military has lost at least 33 helicopters since the war began in March 2003, according to the Brookings Institution. At least 20 were brought down by hostile fire. The previous most deadly incident involving US troops was on November 15 2003, when two Black Hawk helicopters collided in Mosul while trying to avoid ground fire, killing 17 soldiers. Last month, a suicide bomb explosion at a mess tent in a base near Mosul killed 22 people including 14 US soldiers and three US contractors.

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The Sikorsky CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter during an official rollout at Sikorsky Aircraft in Jupiter, Fla., in 2015. Wilfredo Lee/AP

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Twelve Hawaii Marines were killed on January 14th 2016 when two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters collided off Oahu as one chopper raced at night to catch up and the first helicopter turned in its path, according to the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley. The impact resulted in an explosion that instantaneously killed all aboard, the university program said. Six Marines were in each aircraft during the night training. According to the program’s report, Pegasus 32 outpaced the other helicopter, Pegasus 31, which accelerated just as the lead aircraft was making a sharp left turn, resulting in the collision at 1,500 feet elevation off Oahu’s North Shore.

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The inquiry “determined that the aircraft failed to maintain adequate distance during the flight” and they collided, Hill said. “Investigators believe that the low light conditions made it difficult for the aircrew to recognize the rapid decrease in separation between the aircraft which led to the collision.” The evidence indicated both aircraft were mechanically sound.

“Investigators found the main contributing factors were low aircraft readiness leading to inadequate pilot proficiency, human factors, and the squadron’s lack of focus on basic aviation practices,” 

After the crash, the Marine Corps said it grounded its CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters from training in Hawaii for 19 days and pulled them from an Australia deployment.

The collision in a fireball 2 miles off the coast came amid revelations that Marine Corps aviation — including fixed-wing F/A-18 Hornets as well as rotary aircraft — had been hamstrung by budget cuts leading to parts shortages and maintenance backlogs.

Lisa and Mike De La Cruz, the parents of one of the lost Marines, Sgt. Dillon Semolina, previously told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the two choppers shouldn’t have been flying that night because the parts issue was so bad.

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U.S. Marines attend a memorial service for the 12 Marines who died when their helicopters crashed off the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Servicemen draped flight gear on 12 white crosses Friday to commemorate the Marines who died when two helicopters crashed off the coast of Hawaii during a nighttime training mission. Military members and families gathered for the memorial service at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe after the status of the dozen missing Marines changed to deceased following five days of searching. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

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Mourners pause at crosses representing the 12 Marines who died in helicopter crashes Jan. 14 in Hawai. The crosses were adorned with flight gear, boots and Hawiian leis during a memorial Jan. 22, 2016, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
WYATT OLSON/STARS AND STRIPES 

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Mourners bow their heads during a prayer at the Friday memorial at Marine Corps Base Hawaii for 12 Marines declared dead after the two helicopters they were in crashed Jan. 14 in Hawaii. Their remains have not been found.
WYATT OLSON/STARS AND STRIPES 

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Family members of the 12 Marine aviators lost at sea in helicopter crashes on Jan. 14 walk to white crosses representing their loved ones during a memorial Friday at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. No remains of the Marines have yet been found.
WYATT OLSON/STARS AND STRIPES 

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During a memorial at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Jan. 22, 2016, an honor guard marches away from 12 crosses after placing a pair of boots on each in memory of the dozen Marines who died Jan. 14 in helicopter crashes in Hawaii. Wyat Olson Stars and Stripes
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A bagpiper plays 'Amazing Grace' on Jan. 22, 2016, during a memorial at Marine Corps Base Hawaii for 12 Marines killed Jan. 14 when their helicopters crashed north of Oahu. In the background are photos of six of the Marines, whose remains have not been found.
WYATT OLSON/STARS AND STRIPES 

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The Marine Corps identified four Marines killed on Tuesday April 3rd 2018 in a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crash near El Centro, California. The Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 465, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. “The loss of our Marines weighs heavy on our hearts,” Maj. Gen. Mark Wise, commanding general of 3rd MAW, said in a statement.
“Our priority is to provide support for our families and HMH-465 during this critical time.” The four Marines killed in the crash were Capt. Samuel A. Schultz, First Lt. Samuel D. Phillips, Gunnery Sgt. Derik R. Holley and Lance Cpl. Taylor J. Conrad.

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Capt. Samuel Schultz, 28, of Huntington Valley, Pa., was a pilot assigned to HMH-465. He joined the Marine Corps in May 2012 and had one deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. He had previously been stationed at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida; Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas; and MCAS New River, North Carolina.

“The hardest part of being a Marine is the tragic loss of life of a fellow brother-in-arms,” Col. Craig Leflore, commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 16, said in the Marine Corps statement.
““My deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of Capt. Samuel A. Shultz, 1st Lt. Samuel D. Phillips, Gunnery Sgt. Derik R. Holley, and Lance Cpl. Taylor J. Conrad. These ‘Warhorse’ Marines brought joy and laughter to so many around them. They each served honorably, wore the uniform proudly and were a perfect example of what makes our Marine Corps great – its people. They will forever be in our hearts and minds.” The helicopter crashed about 15 miles west of El Centro around 2:30 p.m. during a routine training mission, the Marine Corps announced yesterday. The crew was conducting training for “aircraft landings in unimproved zones,” and the Marine Corps has not commented on the circumstances of the crash, citing a pending investigation.

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First Lt. Samuel Phillips, 27, of Pinehurst, N.C., was a pilot assigned to HMH-465. He joined the Marine Corps in August 2013 and was also previously stationed at NAS Pensacola, NAS Corpus Christi and MCAS New River.

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Gunnery Sgt. Derik R. Holley, 33, of Dayton, Ohio, was a CH-53 helicopter crew chief assigned to HMH-465. He joined the Marine Corps in November 2003 and had been stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico and MCAS Miramar. He deployed twice to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, once to Japan as part of the Unit Deployment Program, and once with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Holley’s personal awards consist of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (4th award), Air Medal-Strike/Flight (9th award), and the Navy and Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (4th award).

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Image Above - Lance Cpl. Taylor J. Conrad, 24, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was a CH-53
helicopter crew chief assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 465. Conrad joined the Marine Corps in May 2016.

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Seven US troops were killed when the helicopter carrying them crashed in western Iraq, a US defense official said on Friday.

"It was a routine troop transport operation going from Iraq to Syria, nothing out of the ordinary," the official said.

Two US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity and citing initial reports, said the aircraft was a HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter and it crashed near al-Qaim, a town in Anbar province near the Syrian border.

As rescue teams responded to the scene of the downed aircraft, US Central Command said early reports did not incidicate that the helicopter was brought down by hostile fire.

The incident marks the first fatal helicopter crash since the US operation against the Islamic State (IS) group in 2014.

Further details of the incident were not yet known, but Central Command said an investigation will be launched to determine the cause of the crash.

The Pentagon has acknowledged that it has about 5,200 troops in Iraq that are part of a coalition fighting IS militants.

Late last year, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared final victory over IS, three years after the militant group captured about a third of Iraq's territory.

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William R. Posch (left), a pararescue craftsman with Air Force Reserve Command's 308th Rescue Squadron at Patrick AFB, Fla.
AIR FORCE PHOTO

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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Carl Enis
STEPHEN D. SCHESTER/U.S. AIR FORCE

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This combination of two undated photos provided by the New York City Fire Department shows FDNY Lt. Christopher J. Raguso, left, and FDNY Fire Marshal Christopher "Tripp" Zanetis. The men are among the seven servicemembers killed when their military helicopter crashed in Iraq.
NEW YORK CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT

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Staff Sgt. Dashan Briggs
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