Dutch Military Helicopter Crashes near Aruba, Killing 2 Crew

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A Dutch Navy NH90 helicopter
A Dutch Navy NH90 helicopter. Flickr via Creative Commons

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- A Dutch military helicopter has crashed into the Caribbean Sea near the island of Aruba, killing two of the crew, the Defense Ministry said in a statement early Monday.

The NH90 helicopter was nearing the end of a coast guard patrol when it crashed Sunday afternoon near the island. The cause of the crash is under investigation, the ministry said.

A 34-year-old pilot, Lt. at Sea Christine Martens, and 33-year-old tactical coordinator, Lt. at Sea Erwin Warnies, were killed. The two other crew escaped without serious injury, Defense Chief Lt. Adm. Rob Bauer said.

The helicopter was based on a navy patrol ship, the Groningen. The ship is working to secure the wreckage and the helicopter's black box, Bauer said.

Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld expressed condolences to the families of the victims in a tweet.

Bauer said the rest of the Dutch military's fleet of NH90 helicopters has been grounded pending the investigation.

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