US military aircraft crashes with US personnel onboard in western Iraq

RAMADI, Iraq (REUTERS) - A US military aircraft carrying US service members crashed in western Iraq, US Central Command said in a statement late on Thursday (March 15).

"Rescue teams are responding to the scene of the downed aircraft at this time," the statement said.

The aircraft is thought to be a HH-60 helicopter, which crashed near al-Qaim, a town in Anbar province close to the Syrian border, according to a US official citing initial reports.

The helicopter was carrying seven people and fatalities were "likely", the official told Reuters.

The mayor of al-Qaim, Ahmed al-Mahlawi, also told Reuters there were seven people on board.

Further details of the incident were not yet known, but Central Command said an investigation will be launched to determine the cause of the crash.