Helicopter heading for UN use crashes near Ethiopia's capital; injuries reported

  • Updated: July 31, 2013 - 9:15 PM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — A helicopter en route to South Sudan for use by the U.N. World Food Program crashed in Ethiopia on Wednesday, injuring several people on board, officials said.

The helicopter crashed in the town of Debre Zeit, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) outside Addis Ababa, said Dina Mufti, the spokesman for Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Dina said there were multiple injuries but he had no further details.

Ethiopian officials said U.N. personnel were on board, but U.N. officials said it wasn't clear whether any U.N. staffers were on the helicopter.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said the helicopter was en route to South Sudan for use by WFP in Jonglei, which has been the scene of recent fighting. Haq said the helicopter was owned by Russian company PANH Helicopters.

Ethiopia's state-run news agency, citing the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, reported that two Russian-made helicopters were traveling from Djibouti to Addis Ababa on their way to South Sudan.

It said one helicopter crashed with four people on board, including two pilots.

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