Search continues for crashed China quake relief helicopter

June 2nd, 2008 - 8:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Chengdu, June 2 (Xinhua) The search continued Monday for the military helicopter that crashed Saturday with 19 people on board during a quake relief operation in Sichuan province in southwest China. The Sichuan provincial government said rescuers were continuing their efforts to locate the chopper.

The helicopter crashed Saturday after encountering strong air turbulence and heavy fog in a mountainous area.

Zhu Xinmin, a Chengdu Military Area Command official, said the Mi-171 helicopter, which belonged to the area command, crashed at 2:56 p.m. Saturday near the quake-devastated Yingxiu township in Sichuan province.

It was returning from a mission carrying epidemic prevention experts to the province’s quake-hit Lixian County.

The official said the pilot of the crashed helicopter, Senior Colonel Qiu Guanghua, had flown 63 sorties carrying relief goods, workers and quake-affected residents since the May 12 earthquake.

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