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According to a statement from the U.S Central Command, a military Blackhawk helicopter crashed off the south coast of Yemen during a routine training exercise. So far, out of the six crew members who were on board, five were rescued while the remaining crew member is still missing and a search and rescue mission is ongoing. The crash took place on Friday evening about 20 miles off the Yemeni south coast, and according to military sources, an investigation has been launched to ascertain the cause of the crash.

Training mission

The U.S Central Command said in the statement that training events, similar to the one that was being carried out, and specifically for U.S military personnel was a routine occurrence.

The training is aimed at maintaining proficiency within the military's area of operation. The statement further added that the commanders had deemed the area safe for the training considering the weather conditions and operational environment at the time.

CENTCOM spokesman Colonel Joe Thomas said that the helicopter was flying low above the water when the incident happened.

Air strikes

The US army has been carrying out air strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Yemen with around 80 strikes so far since the end of February this year. Also, a few ground raids have been carried out by US Special Operation Forces, with one casualty that involved a Navy Seal at the beginning of the year.

Mishaps

Over the past few months, there have been a number of aviation mishaps that have involved US military personnel.

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Early this month, the US Coast Guard suspended its search for five military aviators who went missing after the Blackhawk helicopter they were in crashed off the coast of Hawaii.

Another Blackhawk US army helicopter crashed on a golf course in Maryland in April, killing one army personnel and seriously injuring two others.

Only last month in northern Mississippi, a military transport plane crashed killing 16 US military service members which included elite special operation forces.

The Blackhawk is a utility and front-line helicopter that is preferred by over 26 countries across the world including the US. This is because it is a highly versatile chopper that can be used for air assaults, air cavalry or as a medical evacuation unit. The Blackhawk has the capacity to carry 11 fully combat loaded air assault troops and can reach a top speed of 183mph.

The US army has the largest Blackhawk fleet in the world with over 2,300 aircraft.