A helicopter belonging to an international peacekeeping force crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Thursday, killing at least eight people, including six Americans, the peacekeeping organization said. Israeli and an Egyptian officials said the crash appeared to be an accident.
“We are deeply saddened to report that eight uniformed MFO members were killed; six U.S. citizens, one French, and one Czech,” the Multinational Force and Observers said in a statement. “One U.S. MFO Member survived and was medically evacuated. Names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.”
Israeli and Egyptian officials said the lone survivor was being airlifted to an Israeli hospital. An Egyptian official said the UH-60 Black Hawk was on a reconnaissance mission and crashed near the island of Tiran.
The peacekeeping force flew the survivor to the resort city of Eilat, Israel, and he was then taken by an Israeli copter to a hospital further north.
Both sides said the crash appeared to have been caused by a technical failure and there were no signs of the aircraft being attacked. Islamic militant groups affiliated with the Islamic State group are known to be active in Sinai.
The Multinational Force and Observers is an international force that monitors the 40-year-old peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.
BBC News reports the organization currently consists of 1,154 military personnel from 13 countries. The largest contingents are from the US, Colombia, Fiji and France. There are 452 U.S. personnel, some of whom occupy key leadership positions.
Its responsibilities include monitoring troop levels along the border and ensuring the freedom of navigation through the Strait of Tiran.
Both the Israeli and the Egyptian official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media on the matter. Officials from the peacekeeping force had no immediate comment pending the outcome of an investigation.