A military helicopter owned by the Iraqi Army, which has been providing aid to Yazidi refugees stranded on a mountain after fleeing Sunni militants has crashed.
The pilot was killed in the crash, which happened after too many people tried to climb aboard, an army spokesman says.
Lieutenant General Qassim al-Moussawi said in a statement that Iraqi parliamentarian Vian Dakheel, of the minority Yazidi community, was aboard the Russian-built Mi-17 helicopter and was injured in Tuesday’s crash.
She and others aboard were evacuated to a hospital in the nearby Kurdish autonomous region.
The New York Times reported on its website that reporter Alissa J. Rubin, riding along on the helicopter for a story, suffered an apparent concussion and broken wrists in the crash. Photographer Adam Ferguson was also on board but uninjured.
“The helicopter delivered aid to the people stranded in Sinjar and too many people boarded it and it hit the mountain during takeoff,” said the Iraqi statement.
Sunni militants from the Islamic State group on August 4 took the town of Sinjar in a remote region of Iraq near the Syrian border and gave the local Yazidi minority population an ultimatum to convert to Islam or die.
Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled to the remote and arid Sinjar mountains where they suffered from lack of food and water, prompting Iraq, the US and other nations to airlift them food and water.
Iraqi military helicopters have attempted to ferry out a few of the displaced out but most have been slowly making their way to the protection of the Kurdish autonomous region.