A U.S. Army AH-64 Apache gunship crashed in Marzak, Afghanistan, in restive Paktika province along the border with Pakistan. The incident, captured in the video above, illustrates the dangers of aggressive, low-level flying in a part of Afghanistan where U.S. troops are almost entirely dependent on airplanes and helicopters for resupply and fire support.
U.S. troops deployed to Marzak in January at the invitation of local elders. The Americans’ goal: to train up a local police force capable of defending the isolated town from Taliban fighters. The crash occurred in February, our colleague Leo Shane from Stars and Stripes tells us.
The Apache is shown flying low over the main U.S. outpost at a former boys’ school. The helicopter dips too low, bounces off the outpost’s snow-covered landing zone and spins wildly, narrowly missing several people before slamming into the ground near the Americans’ secondary outpost at a neighboring girls’ school.
No one was killed, according to the video description, but the copter crew supposedly could face criminal charges. The girls’ school is just a stone’s throw from “downtown” Marzak. It appears that if the Apache had bounced a few more times, it could have struck several homes and potentially hurt or killed a bunch of people.
A spokesperson for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force told ABC News the video was taken Feb. 6 in the Paktika province in Afghanistan. Remarkably, no one on the ground was injured and the aircrew survived, the spokesperson said.
There was no enemy activity in the area and Army is currently investigating the incident, he said.
While the cause of the crash is unknown, former Marine Corps pilot and current ABC News consultant Steve Ganyard said it appears the pilot was performing dangerous low-level maneuvers for spectators and then lost control.