Page last updated at 10:03 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 11:03 UK

UK troops in helicopter emergency

A US army Chinook helicopter
It was not confirmed where the helicopter came down

About 20 UK service personnel were on a US helicopter which was forced to make an emergency landing in Afghanistan.

Four US air crew and about 30 Afghan personnel were also aboard the Chinook which made a "hard landing" in the south on Tuesday. Nobody was injured.

Enemy action has been ruled out as a cause, with the helicopter apparently suffering a mechanical fault.

The UK personnel are in the process of being evacuated, says an International Security Assistance Force spokesman.

An investigation into what went wrong has been launched.

The spokesman said commanders on the ground were planning the recovery of the helicopter.

Reinforcements

In a separate development, Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to announce later that an extra 500 military personnel will be sent to Afghanistan.

The UK has about 9,000 soldiers in the country, the second-largest contingent after the US.

More than two-thirds of the UK troops are stationed in the southern province of Helmand, a Taliban stronghold.

Some 221 British personnel have died since the beginning of operations in Afghanistan in 2001.



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