US military grounds entire fleet of Chinook helicopters after engine fires

The US military said on Tuesday it had grounded its entire fleet of Chinook cargo helicopters after fuel leaks caused a “small number” of engine fires.

The Army has identified the cause of the leaks among an “isolated number” of Boeing H-47 Chinooks and is working to fix the problem, according to Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith.

“Although no fatalities or injuries occurred, the military has temporarily grounded the H-47 fleet out of an abundance of caution until these corrective actions are completed,” Smith said in a statement Tuesday. “The safety of our soldiers is the Army’s top priority, and we will ensure that our aircraft remain safe and airworthy.”

In this file photo taken June 9, 2011, US Marines direct a Chinook helicopter arriving to pick up a container with supplies at Forward Operating Base E Edinburgh in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province.

Anja Niedringhaus/AP, file.

A U.S. official told ABC News there were about 70 planes teams were examining because they had a part suspected to be linked to the problem.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the grounding.

The Army has about 400 Chinooks in its fleet around the world, using them to transport troops and equipment as seen in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The CH-47F, one of the latest versions of the Chinook, is the Army’s only heavy-lift cargo helicopter to support combat and other critical operations, according to the Army’s website.

ABC News

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