15 Colombian police killed in helicopter crash

Fifteen police were killed Tuesday in Colombia when a helicopter taking part in an anti-drug trafficking operation crashed in a remote jungle-covered region, the national police force said.  

AFP| Updated: Aug 05, 2015, 01:01 AM IST

Bogota: Fifteen police were killed Tuesday in Colombia when a helicopter taking part in an anti-drug trafficking operation crashed in a remote jungle-covered region, the national police force said.

A total of 17 officers were on board the Blackhawk helicopter, which was involved in an operation against the powerful Clan Usuga drug gang in northwestern Colombia`s Antioquia department, said a police statement.

The other two officers were injured and taken to a hospital in the town of Apartado, it said.

Preliminary investigations indicate the crash was caused by mechanical failure, but specialists will carry out a detailed analysis, said the statement.

Clan Usuga is the main drug gang in Colombia, the world`s leading producer of coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine.

President Juan Manuel Santos`s government has intensified its offensive against the gang in recent months.

A UN report recently found coca cultivation in Colombia expanded 44 percent last year to 69,000 hectares (170,000 acres), yielding potential cocaine production of 442 tonnes -- a 52-percent increase from 2013.