A Philippine military helicopter operating in the rebellion-torn southern Philippines crashed into a mountain on Saturday, killing three people, the air force said.
The Bell UH-1H aircraft pitched into Mount Sinumaan on Jolo island when its crew attempted to land at a military outpost there, air force spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Miguel Ernesto Okol said.
"The UH-1H attempted a precautionary landing... due to mechanical problems," he said in ad statement. He did not say what had caused the mechanical problem.
"There were three reported fatalities (but) the co-pilot survived," he said.
All the casualties were aboard the helicopter.
The area around the crash site is a known stronghold of Islamist militants of the Abu Sayyaf, and Okol said a Philippine marine unit was deployed to secure the crash site while the air force dispatched rescue and investigation teams.
The Abu Sayyaf, founded with seed funds from the Al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden according to the military, has been blamed for kidnappings and deadly bombings in Manila and the southern Philippines.
by Stephen Collinson
(c) 2011 AFP
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