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Norfolk's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Norfolk, Virginia | 13NEWSNOW.com

20 years since helicopter crash killed service members searching for Vietnam MIA remains

On April 7, 2001, a helicopter crash in Vietnam killed 16 people. They were members of a unit searching for remains of missing soldiers from the Vietnam War.

WASHINGTON — There was a solemn remembrance ceremony Wednesday for a little-known peacetime tragedy.

On April 7, 2001, a helicopter crash in Vietnam killed 16 people. They were members of a unit that at the time was called "Joint Task Force-Full Accounting." Their mission was to search for remains of missing soldiers from the Vietnam War.

They died when their Russian-made Mi-17 chopper slammed into the side of a cloud-covered mountain.

"Everyone carries the enduring pain of loss," Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley. "And that loss, no matter what we say, can never be filled with words or ceremonies."

Seven American military personnel died that day, along with nine Vietnamese military members. General Milley said each person on that team represented a life of purpose, a life cut short.

A few months before the tragic accident, 13News Now reporter Mike Gooding was in Vietnam, producing a documentary on Joint Task Force-Full Accounting's efforts to find those missing service members. The documentary, originally airing on November 19, 2000, was titled "The Healing Journey" and you can watch it below: