JERUSALEM – The international force that monitors the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement said Thursday that seven peacekeepers, including five Americans, were killed when one of its helicopters crashed during a routine mission in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. An eighth peacekeeper was badly injured.
The Multinational Force and Observers said a French peacekeeper and Czech member of the force were also killed. It said the injured peacekeeper was American.
The MFO initially said there were eight fatalities, including six Americans, but later revised the total to seven dead, including five Americans.
According to the United States Army, those killed were identified as:
- Capt. Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31, from Katy, Texas
- Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, 34, from Fayetteville, North Carolina
- 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
The MFO said the helicopter crashed during a routine mission near Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular Egyptian resort city on the Red Sea, and that an investigation was underway. It did not give a precise location of the crash or say whether the helicopter fell on land or crashed into the sea.
An Egyptian official speaking on condition of anonymity per regulations said the helicopter crashed over Red Sea waters outside Egyptian territorial boundaries.
Islamic militant groups and a regional affiliate of the Islamic State group are known to be active in Sinai. But the MFO said there were no signs of an attack. “At this point, there is no information to indicate the crash was anything except an accident,” it said.