JERUSALEM (AP) — The international force that monitors the four-decade-old Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement has confirmed the deaths of seven peacekeepers in a helicopter crash in Egypt’s Sinai region on Thursday.
The Multinational Force and Observers said five Americans, a French and a Czech were killed.
One of the five Americans killed was a 34-year-old from Fayetteville.
The United States Army soldiers who died as a result of a suspected mechanical malfunction of a UH-60 helicopter have been identified by the U.S. Army:
- Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, 34, from Fayetteville, North Carolina
- Capt. Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31, from Katy, Texas
- Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan Sameh Ghabour, 27, from Marlborough, Massachusetts
- Staff Sgt. Kyle Robert McKee, 35, from Painesville, Ohio
- Sgt. Jeremy Cain Sherman, 23, from Watseka, Illinois
It said an eighth peacekeeper survived and was evacuated for medical treatment.
The force says there is no indication the crash was “anything except an accident.”
The peacekeepers are responsible for monitoring troops levels and protecting free navigation in the area.
Thirteen countries contribute troops to the force, with the U.S. providing the largest contingent.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss on November 12, 2020, of seven of our uniformed military colleagues from three countries who died in a helicopter crash during a routine mission,” the MFO said in a revised statement issued on its website.