Alissa J. Rubin, the New York Times Paris bureau chief who has spent much of the past decade anchoring the paper's Iraq and Afghanistan war coverage, was riding in a helicopter that crashed as it was delivering humanitarian aid to Yazidi refugees in northern Iraq today.
According to the Times, Rubin was able to reach editors by cellphone after the crash, in which she apparently suffered broken wrists and a concussion. The pilot of the helicopter was killed in the incident.
The helicopter had landed and deposited emergency aid, picked up some Yazidi evacuees and crashed shortly after it took off, survivors said.
A top official of the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq said two rescue helicopters later took the survivors of the crash to safety. They were transferred to ambulances that headed to the city of Dohuk, about 20 miles outside Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital. Aside from the pilot, there was no other loss of life. The Kurdish official attributed the crash to an accident but the precise cause was not immediately clear.
Rubin, 56, started with the Times in 2007 and has spent much of her tenure based in Baghdad or Kabul, focusing on the politics of those conflicts and their toll on local populations.
She famously traveled to Afghanistan's restive Logar Province in 2011 without military assistance, donning a burqa to avoid scrutiny and writing hauntingly about the experience. "I leaned back in the seat and felt a wash of passivity come over me," she said of wearing the garb through hazardous checkpoints. "Nothing was demanded of me except silence."