An Australian Army Boeing CH-47D Chinook transport helicopter has crashed in Afghanistan, killing one passenger and injuring the five other occupants.

The incident occurred during a resupply mission 90km (48nm) east of the central Afghan town of Tarin Kot, said Australia's Department of Defence. Ground fire has been ruled out as the cause of the crash, it added.

A US Army Chinook operating with the Australian helicopter immediately landed to provide medical assistance and to evacuate the downed aircraft's crew. The Australian aircraft was subsequently destroyed on the ground after it was deemed to be unsalvageable.

"While we are yet to understand exactly what led to the incident, I am comfortable that the available evidence precludes insurgent small arms fire or rocket fire as a contributing factor," said Australian Chief of Joint Operations Maj Gen Ash Power.

The DoD said there was no evidence of insurgent activity near the crash site either before or after the incident, which included Australia's 26th combat fatality during its 10-year involvement in the Afghan conflict. The five injured occupants have been released from hospital.

Australia has deployed a rotary wing group comprising two Chinooks and 65 personnel from its 5th Aviation Regiment to Afghanistan. They are embedded with the US Army's 101st Combat Aviation Regiment at Kandahar airfield and provide combat service support as well as medical evacuations.

Australia has also deployed Boeing ScanEagle and Israel Aerospace Industries Heron unmanned air systems in Afghanistan, where it has a total of 1,500 military personnel deployed.

Source: Flight International