Helicopter Crashes in Iraq After Delivering Aid to Yazidis

The only Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament was reportedly among the injured.

A displaced Iraqi man from the Yazidi community carries his daughter as they cross the Iraqi-Syrian border at the Fishkhabur crossing in northern Iraq.
National Journal
Kaveh Waddell
Aug. 12, 2014, 8:23 a.m.

An Ir­aqi heli­copter re­turn­ing from de­liv­er­ing food and wa­ter to tens of thou­sands of Yazidi refugees trapped on a moun­tain in north­ern Ir­aq crashed Tues­day.

The heli­copter went down be­cause of a mech­an­ic­al fail­ure, ac­cord­ing to state-run TV chan­nel al-Ir­aqiya, which cited mil­it­ary sources. The crash killed the pi­lot and in­jured some on board, in­clud­ing a journ­al­ist for The New York Times. The Ir­aqi Army con­firmed to ABC’s Jon Wil­li­ams that up to 20 people were on board when the heli­copter crashed.

Vi­an Dakhil, the only Yazidi mem­ber in the Ir­aqi par­lia­ment, was on board the heli­copter and was in­jured in the crash, ac­cord­ing to CNN and the BBC. Dakhil caught the eye of in­ter­na­tion­al me­dia after she de­livered an im­pas­sioned speech on Aug. 5 to her col­leagues in the par­lia­ment, ask­ing them to act to ad­dress the plight of her fel­low Yazid­is. “We are be­ing slaughtered, an­ni­hil­ated,” she said through tears. “An en­tire re­li­gion is be­ing wiped off the face of the Earth.”

The heli­copter was re­turn­ing from Mount Sin­jar, where it had dropped off emer­gency aid for Yazidi refugees trapped there by IS­IS fight­ers. The crash sur­viv­ors, in­clud­ing Yazidi evacu­ees flee­ing Mount Sin­jar, were picked up by res­cue heli­copters and taken back to Er­bil.

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