Sgt. Brandon Silk, the Orono soldier killed in Afghanistan Monday, apparently died of injuries sustained in a helicopter crash.

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, issued a statement this afternoon saying the 25-year-old soldier, a member of Company C, 101st Aviation Batallion, 101st Airborne Division, died of wounds sustained in a hard landing.

Silk was a Black Hawk helicopter crew chief.

“We are forever indebted to Sergeant Silk for his service and sacrifice to the nation,” Pingree said in a statement. “All the men and women who serve our country in uniform do so knowing they may one day make the ultimate sacrifice, but that doesn’t diminish the sadness and loss we feel when one of them dies in the line of duty.”

3:29 p.m.

The death of Orono High School graduate Sgt. Brandon Silk in Afghanistan brings to 41 the number of Americans killed there this month.

Gov. John Baldacci issued a statement marking Silk’s death after meeting with his family, but could provide few additional details about how or where he died.

Silk was a full-time, active duty soldier, so information about his death is handled by the Department of Defense rather than the governor’s office, as would be the case with a National Guard soldier. The federal department has posted no information about Silk’s death on its website.

The Associated Press reported that a helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan before dawn on Monday, but although Silk is a helicopter crew chief, it was not immediately clear whether the two events are related.

The helicopter crash killed one American and three Australian commandos.

Four Americans died in separate attacks in the east and south Monday, officials said. That brought the total of international service members killed in Afghanistan this month to 62, 41 of them Americans.

Silk graduated from Orono High School in 2003, according to classmates.com.

2:58 p.m.

A Maine soldier was killed in Afghanistan Monday.

Officials say Sgt. Brandon Silk, 25, of Orono, was killed while serving with the 101st Airborne Division.

Silk was a Black Hawk helicopter crew chief stationed in Fort Campbell, Ky.

“The death of a soldier is a terrible tragedy for family, friends and the entire community. A hole is opened in many lives,” Gov. Baldacci said in a statement issued after meeting with Silk’s family earlier today.

“During this very difficult time, we will keep Sgt. Silk’s family and friends in our thoughts and in our prayers,” he said.

Baldacci will order flags lowered to half-staff on the day of Silk’s funeral.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, issued a statement of condolences.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sgt. Brandon Silk,” she said. “I know I join so many Mainers who will be forever grateful for his sacrifice, courage, and patriotism. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and loved ones who have suffered this terrible loss.”