KABUL, Afghanistan (AP/WFLA) — Two U.S. service members were killed on Wednesday when their helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, the U.S. military said.
The service members killed were identified as Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, 33, from Tarrant, Texas and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., 25, from Keaau, Hawaii.
The military said both soldiers were assigned to 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas., and were in the helicopter providing security for troops on the ground.
The statement said the cause of the crash is under investigation but that preliminary reports do not indicate it was caused by enemy fire.
However, the Taliban promptly claimed to have shot down the helicopter in eastern Logar province, causing many fatalities.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement to media that the insurgents downed a U.S. Chinook helicopter at around 1 a.m. during fighting with the “invaders and their hirelings.”
The U.S military dismissed the Taliban claim as false.
Wednesday’s crash brought the number of U.S. deaths in Afghanistan this year to 19. There have also been three non-combat deaths this year. More than 2,400 Americans have died in the nearly 18-year war.