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The Black Hawks carrying the SEALs approached Abbottabad from the north-west. Once the helicopters reached their destination, the carefully planned operation began to unravel. As the first chopper tried to land in the largest courtyard in the compound, it suddenly lost altitude. The additional weight of the stealth technology and the higher-than-expected temperatures in Abbottabad had degraded its performance, amplifying an aerodynamic phenomenon known as settling with power an unexpectedly fast drop. When the SEALs had practiced the maneuver on a replica of the compound in the States, the compound's outer walls had been represented by a chain-link fence, whereas the actual walls were made of concrete. The thick walls likely gave more energy to the Black Hawk's rotor wash and contributed to the chopper's instability. The tail of the craft clipped one of the compound walls, breaking off the critical tail rotor. Now the pilot could no longer control the chopper. Relying on his training, he avoided a potentially catastrophic crash by burying the helo's nose in the dirt in the large yard where the compound occupants grew crops. Because of his quick thinking, the SEALs in the chopper did not sustain serious injuries and were able to clamber out of the downed bird.
Obama grimly watched this unfold on the grainy video feed being beamed back from the drone high above the compound. The feed clearly showed that the rotors of the first helicopter had stopped spinning. Then the second helicopter, instead of hovering and dropping some SEALs on the roof of the main compound building, simply disappeared from the shot. In his Texan drawl, McRaven addressed Panetta without any discernible shift in tone, saying, "We will now be amending the mission. Director, as you can see, we have a helicopter down in the courtyard. My men are prepared for this contingency, and they will deal with it." Within a matter of seconds, McRaven could see on the video feed that the SEALs had made it out of the downed helicopter without any serious problems.
Three of those SEALs ran across the small field and opened a door on one of the inside walls of the compound, leading to a self-contained annex area. There they found the simple garage where the Kuwaiti parked his jeep and the one-story building where he lived with his family. The Kuwaiti poked his head out from behind a metal gate in this building, and the SEALs shot him twice in the chin, killing him. They also wounded the Kuwaiti's wife with a shot to her right shoulder. Their silenced weapons made little noise. (The courier's AK-47 was later discovered by his bedside. It seems unlikely that he fired it; no casings from such a weapon were found at the scene.)