US air-tanker dumps fuel over Kyrgyzstan

June 23rd, 2008 - 10:50 pm ICT by IANS  

DPA
Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), June 23 (DPA) A US military jet tanker dumped 30 tonnes of airline fuel over the mountains in southern Kyrgyzstan in an emergency manoeuvre, the US military reported Monday. The fuel was ditched when “a pressurisation problem, caused smoke and caustic fumes in the cockpit about an hour into a refuelling mission to support operations in Afghanistan”, a spokesman for the US Manas air base near the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek said Monday.

“Given the critical nature of the emergency, the aircrew … was compelled to jettison the fuel to reach a safe landing weight,” he said.

The refuelling tanker threw out the fuel at roughly 7,300 metres (24,000 feet) at which height the fuel should have vaporised before hitting the ground, according to the air base.

Washington has rented the military air base in Kyrgyzstan since 2001 to field its operations in nearby Afghanistan, but the base has difficult relations with the local community since a Kyrgyz man was shot by a US soldier in 2006.

The Manas military base is a mere 30 km from a similar Russian air base.
DPA

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