Big U.S. Jet, Hit by Groundfire, Lands Safely in Iraq
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Jan 8, 4:07 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A big U.S. Air Force C-5 cargo jet carrying 63 passengers and crew was hit by ground fire in Iraq on Thursday and made a safe emergency landing following an explosion in one of its four engines, the military said.

"A C-5 Galaxy outbound from Baghdad International Airport declared an in-flight emergency at 6:20 a.m. Baghdad time due to an explosion in the number four engine. The aircraft immediately returned to the airport and landed safely," the U.S. Air Mobility Command said.

"Initial reports indicate the incident is the result of hostile action from the ground, but the type of weapon and other details are unknown," the mobility command said in a statement from Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

Another military official in Washington earlier told Reuters that a missile was believed to have struck the aircraft.

None of the 11 crew members and 52 other military personnel aboard the four-engine C-5 Galaxy were injured, the mobility command said, adding that a team of military experts had been dispatched from Europe to investigate the incident.

The plane was assigned to the 22nd Airlift Squadron out of Travis Air Force Base in California, the mobility command said.

Also Thursday, a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Iraq, killing all nine aboard, but it was not clear if it had been shot down.

Guerrillas have brought down several helicopters in Iraq. Thursday's was the deadliest helicopter incident for the U.S. occupation forces since Nov. 15, when two Black Hawks collided under fire in Mosul, killing 17 soldiers.

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