TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- A helicopter crashed during counter-insurgency exercises held by U.S. and Honduran troops, slightly injuring two Honduran soldiers, officials said Thursday.
The helicopter, a U.S.-built UH-1 'Huey,' crashed late Wednesday in El Paraiso province, some 30 miles east of Tegucigalpa, a statement from the Honduran army said.
U.S. soldiers from Fort Bragg, N.C. and the Southern Command at Fort Gulick in Panama, are carrying out counter-insurgency exercises with Honduran regulars in the second phase of Operation Lempira, which began Aug. 20.
The first phase took place in the western mountains some 30 miles from the border with El Salvador and ended Aug. 6.
The communique identified the two injured lieutenants as Francisco Alfredo Garcia Romero and Mario A. Cibrian.
The helicopter was supporting the sixth infantry battalion in war games when it crashed, the statement said.
The manuevers are expected 'to improve operational effectiveness of the U.S. and Honduran troops and to improve their ability to operate on a very short notice,' the army said.
Despite rumors that relations cooled between the United States and Honduras when Gen. Walter Lopez Reyes took command of the military on March 31, 250 U.S. troops landed in Honduras to conduct reconnaissance missions over El Salvadoran rebel strongholds and earlier this month the USS Iowa visited the shores of Honduras.