Afghanistan — Australian Chinook helicopter fired upon by insurgents

An Aus­tralian CH-47 Chi­nook heli­copter was fired upon by insur­gents yes­ter­day as it was tak­ing off from a coali­tion patrol base in the Arghandab Val­ley region of Kan­da­har.

Two coali­tion forces sol­diers on board the heli­copter received minor wounds as a result of the attack. There were no Aus­tralian per­son­nel wound­ed in the inci­dent.

The Chi­nook imme­di­ate­ly flew to the Role Three Med­ical Facil­i­ty at the Kan­da­har Air Base where the two coali­tion forces sol­diers are cur­rent­ly being treat­ed for their wounds.

The Chi­nook was sup­port­ing an ISAF oper­a­tion at the time of the attack.

Com­man­der of Aus­tralian forces in the Mid­dle East, Major Gen­er­al John Cantwell said the coali­tion sol­diers were pro­vid­ed imme­di­ate first aid while en route to the med­ical facil­i­ty at the Kan­da­har Air Base.

“Our Aus­tralian troops are well trained which was evi­dent in the way the crew react­ed to the inci­dent in pro­vid­ing imme­di­ate med­ical assis­tance to the wound­ed sol­diers and ensur­ing the Chi­nook arrived at the med­ical facil­i­ty in less than 15 min­utes,” Major Gen­er­al Cantwell said.

“The two wound­ed coali­tion sol­diers are cur­rent­ly receiv­ing fur­ther med­ical treat­ment at the Role Three med­ical cen­tre.

“The Aus­tralian Chi­nooks reg­u­lar­ly sup­port ISAF oper­a­tions in south­ern Afghanistan, often in haz­ardous envi­ron­ments and do an amaz­ing job in this sup­port role.”

An inves­ti­ga­tion is cur­rent­ly under­way to estab­lish the extent of the dam­age sus­tained by the heli­copter.

The inci­dent is unlike­ly to impact on ongo­ing oper­a­tions in the region.

“We are thank­ful that no Aus­tralian sol­diers were wound­ed dur­ing the attack but our thoughts are with the two coali­tion sol­diers as they recov­er from their wounds,” said Major Gen­er­al Cantwell.

For more infor­ma­tion on the ADF’s oper­a­tion in Afghanistan go to http://www.defence.gov.au/op/afghanistan/index.htm

Defence Media Liai­son: (02) 6127 1999

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia