KABUL, Afghanistan — A US Air Force Osprey went down in southeastern Afghanistan, the US military said yesterday, killing three service members and one civilian contractor in the first crash of the costly tilt-rotor aircraft in a combat zone.
It’s unclear what caused the crash of the US military’s latest-generation transport aircraft — beset for years by cost overruns and design flaws.
A NATO statement said “numerous other service members’’ were injured when the aircraft, which takes off and lands like a helicopter, crashed late Thursday 7 miles from Qalat, capital of Zabul Province about 200 miles southwest of Kabul.
A Taliban spokesman said militants shot down the aircraft, but the insurgents often make exaggerated claims. NATO said the cause was still under investigation.
A Pentagon spokesman, Marine Major Shawn Turner, said it was the first time that an Osprey, which cost nearly $70 million apiece, has crashed during operations in a war zone.